Alcohol is quite deceiving because when people start drinking, they seem really happy. But the more they drink, the more their brain and body slow down, causing depressed stimulation and making it more difficult for the person to remain in control of their actions. Essentially, alcohol is a mood altering drug that can potentially do serious damage to you and those around you.

Why is the drinking age 21?

It's no secret that the legal age for purchasing or consuming alcohol is 21 years old, but why? While the alcohol tolerance of an individual is dependent on a wide variety of factors, young people are more susceptible to alcohol addiction and the effects of alcohol since their brains are still developing. By age 21, the brain becomes more fully developed and mature, reducing the risk of addiction and permanent damage caused by alcohol consumption.


Our friends over at Wait21.org explain the science of addiction and how drinking before 21 can be especially dangerous to your health. Check them out!

How does alcohol affect the body?

Alcohol has both short-term and long-term effects. Here are some of them:

Immediate

  • Slower reactions
  • Unexpected changes in behavior
  • Loss of balance, coordination, and judgment
  • Slurred speech, confusion
  • Increased risk taking
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • ALCOHOL POISONING

Long-term

  • Muscle disease and tremors
  • Liver disease, including cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer
  • Nutritional deficiency, ulcers, and gastritis
  • BRAIN DAMAGE
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritation and inflammation of the digestive system
  • Increased risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx and larynx
  • Bad skin, hair and nails

Things to Know About Alcohol

  • Alcohol and tobacco kill more than 50 times the number of people that are killed by all other illegal drugs combined.
  • Alcohol can affect your body's involuntary reflexes, such as breathing and the gag reflex.
  • Binge drinking is drinking a lot, in a small amount of time. On average, it is 4 drinks for a female and 5 drinks for a male within a period of 2 hours.
  • Binge drinking is a big problem for young people.
  • Too much alcohol in the bloodstream can cause a person to lose consciousness, go in a coma or die.
  • You cannot always tell how strong a drink is by its taste.
  • Even after a person's last drink, his or her alcohol level keeps rising.
  • Every year almost 600,000 young people are hurt in accidents while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Alcohol also increases impaired judgement, you are more likely to take risk such as:
    • Having unprotected sex
    • Violence
    • Falling
    • Driving drunk

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency and can happen to anyone. See how it played a role in taking the life of a 15-year-old girl.