Alcohol | Health Centre | Student Services Fredericton | UNB

Alcohol

Alcohol is a drug that slows down the parts of your brain that affect your thinking, behaviour, breathing and heart rate. It's considered a depressant drug but that does not necessarily mean that it will make a person feel depressed.

Many social gatherings feature alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, the consumption of alcohol carries a risk of adverse health and social consequences related to its intoxicating, toxic and dependence-producing properties and it should be consumed moderately.  

Test your knowledge about alcohol consumption.

How it makes you feel

For many people, a single drink of alcohol releases tension and reduces inhibition, making them feel more at ease and outgoing. Some people feel happy or excited when they drink, while others become depressed or hostile. Suicide and violent crimes often involve alcohol.

The way alcohol affects you depends on many factors, including:

  • your age, sex and body weight
  • how sensitive you are to alcohol
  • the type and amount of food in your stomach
  • how much and how often you drink
  • how long you've been drinking
  • the environment you're in
  • how you expect the alcohol to make you feel
  • whether you've taken any other drugs (illegal, prescription, over-the-counter or herbal)

Watch a video on what happens to your brain when you drink alcohol.

How long the feeling lasts

It takes about one hour for the liver of a person weighing 70 kilograms (154 lbs.) to process and eliminate eight to 10 grams of alcohol, or about two-thirds of the alcohol contained in a standard drink (i.e., 13.6 grams of alcohol). This rate is constant, no matter how much alcohol has been consumed or what food or non-alcoholic beverages are consumed.

Where it comes from

Alcohol is produced by fermenting or distilling various fruits, vegetables or grains. Fermented beverages include beer and wine, which have a maximum alcohol content of about 15 per cent. Distilled beverages, often called “hard liquor” or “spirits,” such as rum, whisky and vodka, have a higher alcohol content. Pure (ethyl) alcohol is a clear, colourless liquid. Alcoholic beverages get their distinctive colours from their ingredients and from the process of fermentation.

Source:  The Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthGovernment of Canada