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Alcohol

What is it: An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains ethanol (usually called alcohol). Alcoholic beverages are divided into three groups: beers, wines, and spirits. Alcohol is a drug that affects the mind and has a depressant effect. If a person has a high blood alcohol content its considered to be legal because it reduces attention and slows reaction time. Alcoholic beverages can be addictive, and an addict of alcohol caused by excess drinking is called an alcoholic. Alcohol has been used by people around the world in their standard diet. It has been used for medical reasons for its relaxant effects, for recreational use, for artistic inspiration, and other reasons. In most cultures the consumption of alcohol has a large significance in social events.

Beer:

Beer is the world's oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of starches, mainly from cereal grains. The most common of these is malted barley, however wheat, corn, and rice are also commonly use. Most beer is flavored with hops, which adds bitterness and is a natural preservative, however other flavorings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included.

Wine:

Wine involves a complete fermentation process that takes longer and an aging process of months or even years that results in an alcohol content of 9%16%. Sparkling wine can be made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling. Which causes another fermentation to happen in the bottle.

Alcohol
Spirits: Unsweetened, distilled, alcoholic beverages that have an alcohol content of at least 20% are called spirits. Spirits are produced by distillation of a fermented product. This process concentrates the alcohol.

Long-term Effects:

A report estimates that medium and high consumption of alcohol led to 75,754 deaths in the USA. Studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption has health benefits for some people. These benefits include a lower risk of heart attack, diabetes, and Alzheimers disease, it also reduced risk of stroke, and increased longevity. However other studies show an increased risk of breast, pancreatic, osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Short-term Effects:

Alcohol intoxication affects the brain, causing slurred speech, clumsiness, and slowing reflexes. The condition is called alcohol intoxication. Alcohol pauses insulin production, which speeds up the glucose metabolism and can result in low blood sugar. Too much can cause poisoning that can be severe and even lethal. Alcohol fills the channels in the brain that controls the flow of calcium, causing too much calcium to flow into the cells and stimulating increased activity. This does not kill the whole cell, but leads to the loss of incoming signals and therefore a change in brain function. Most of this damage is temporary, but the recovery process changes your nerve-cell structure forever.

Drunk driving:

Alcohol
Most countries have laws against drunk driving. Punishments include fines, temporary loss of driving license, and going to jail. The legal amount of blood alcohol content ranges from 0.0% to 0.08%, according to the law. There is even some laws against drunk sailing, drunk bicycling, and even drunk rollerblading! In Canada it is illegal to have an open alcoholic drink in you car.

If you are over the drinking age there is a very good chance your going to be introduced to alcohol and some studies even prove drinking once in a while, actually has benefits. However drinking irresponsibly and going over your limit puts you and the people around you in danger.