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Alcohol is a legal depressant, a liquid obtained by fermentation of carbohydrates by yeast or by distillation. There are many different types of alcohol, but Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the type of alcohol that is used to make alcoholic beverages.
The use of Alcohol may not become a problem when used moderately. Moderate use of alcohol is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people. A "drink" is defined as 12 oz. of beer or a wine cooler, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80 proof distilled spirits.
The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) states that moderate alcohol use may be beneficial to users. Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are less likely to die from one form of heart disease than are people who do not drink any alcohol or who drink more. It is believed that these smaller amounts of alcohol help protect against heart disease by changing the blood's chemistry, thus reducing the risk of blood clots in the heart's arteries.
However, some people shouldn't drink at all. The list includes:
- Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- People who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require alertness and skill such as using high-speed machinery
- People taking certain over-the-counter medications
- People with medical conditions that can be made worse by drinking
- Recovering alcoholics
- People under the age of 21