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The man sitting on a couch holding his hand up saying no to a beer being offered

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time dedicated to educating ourselves and others about the effects of alcohol on our health and well-being. While adults often have a good understanding of alcohol, it’s important to break down this knowledge in a way that’s easy to understand, especially for younger audiences. So, let’s dive into what alcohol is, how it affects us, and why it’s crucial to drink responsibly. 


What is Alcohol? 

Alcohol is a substance found in beverages like beer, wine, and liquor. It’s made through a process called fermentation, where yeast interacts with sugars in fruits, grains, or other ingredients. This process produces ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks. 


How Does Alcohol Affect Us? 

When we drink alcohol, it enters our bloodstream and travels to our brain. This is what causes the feeling of being “drunk” or intoxicated. Alcohol affects our brain’s communication pathways, which can lead to changes in mood, behavior, and coordination. That’s why you might notice someone acting differently or having trouble walking straight after drinking too much. Alcohol impacts brain function by shrinking the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain associated with reasoning and memory.  


But alcohol doesn’t just affect our brains; it can also harm other parts of our bodies. Drinking too much alcohol over time can damage our liver, heart, and even increase the risk of certain cancers. It can also lead to addiction, where someone feels like they need to drink alcohol regularly, even if it’s causing them harm. 

Man in casual clothes sitting on couch talking to a male therapist who is looking at a notepad

Why Drink Responsibly? 

Drinking responsibly means understanding how much alcohol is safe to consume and knowing when to stop. It’s important because drinking too much alcohol can have serious consequences. Not only can it harm our health, but it can also lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. 

For adults, drinking responsibly also means being mindful of the example we set for younger people. Kids and teens look up to adults and may mimic our behavior. By drinking responsibly, we can show them that it’s possible to have fun without overindulging in alcohol. 


Tips for Drinking Responsibly: 

Know Your Limits: It’s essential to understand how much alcohol you can safely consume. Remember that everyone’s tolerance is different, so what might be okay for one person could be too much for another. The BMJ Medical Journal defines moderate drinking as one drink for women and two for men (a drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer).   

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water between alcoholic beverages can help prevent dehydration and lessen the effects of alcohol. 
  • Never Drink and Drive: Alcohol impairs your ability to drive safely. If you’ve been drinking, it’s crucial to find a sober ride home or use a rideshare service. 
  • Set a Plan: Before you start drinking, decide how many drinks you’ll have and stick to it. Having a plan can help prevent overindulgence. 
  • Know When to Say No: If you feel pressured to drink more than you’re comfortable with or if you’ve already had enough, it’s okay to say no. Your health and safety are more important than fitting in with others. 

Woman outside drinking water from a clear bottle


Alcohol Awareness Month is a time to reflect on our relationship with alcohol and educate ourselves about its effects. By understanding what alcohol is, how it affects us, and the importance of drinking responsibly, we can make healthier choices for ourselves and set a positive example for others. 

Whether you’re an adult or a young person, it’s never too early or too late to learn about alcohol and its effects. By working together to spread awareness and knowledge, we can create a safer and healthier environment for everyone. At BHA we can help. From coming to your primary care provider (PCP) for routine lab testing to check your liver and heart functions to mental health providers to help with coping and behavioral techniques to manage urges to overindulge, BHA is here for you, and you can request an appointment here. So, let’s raise a glass to making informed choices and staying safe!