1. Why People Drink
2. Alcohol and the Body
4. Long-Term Effects
Many cultures use alcohol as a social lubricant and a way to relax. People also drink alcohol because of peer or media pressure, to cope with stress or other problems or because of genetic factors. The ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, in alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and liquor is a central nervous depressant, which has short-term and long-term effects on the body.
Why People Drink
People drink for different reasons. For example, adolescents may drink because of peer pressure, to cope with stress, as a result of media pressure or because of the influence of older friends or parents. Older people may drink alcohol to cope with depression or loneliness caused by life changes, such as failing health, the death of loved ones or moving to a different home. People who have a family history of drinking or alcohol abuse or who spend time with others who drink may be more likely to drink alcohol.