WHAT IS ALCOHOL?

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. But what exactly is it?

There are different types of alcohol. Alcoholic drinks contain the chemical ethanol. This form of alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation process, which is the reaction of sugars and yeast. These sugars are sourced from foods rich in starch, such as maize, wheat, molasses, barley and potatoes.

 
 

 
The chemical compound of alcohol: ethanol C2H5Oh

The chemical compound of alcohol: ethanol C2H5Oh

Fermenting the sugar in grapes produces the alcohol in wine

Fermenting the sugar in grapes produces the alcohol in wine

 
 

Alcoholic drinks, like wine, beer, cider and spirits, typically contain 1% to 50% of ethanol by volume.

Alcoholic drinks sometimes feel like a stimulant (or even hallucinogen in some cases), but alcohol is actually a depressant. This means they slow down your central nervous system, not that they make you depressed – though it’s important to know that alcohol can affect your mood and mental health.

Alcohol stops the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, which slows down our normal bodily responses. If you’ve ever experienced slurred speech after drinking, that’s down to alcohol impeding your neurotransmitters. 

Excessive alcohol can affect every system and part of the body. Find out more about the short and long term effects of alcohol on your health.

 

Alcoholic drinks sometimes feel like a stimulant (or even hallucinogen in some cases), but alcohol is actually a depressant.

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