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How Alcohol Works in Your Body

Do you know what happens in your body when you drink alcohol? Find out here.

April 11, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

If you drink alcohol, you probably already know how it makes you feel: happy, sad, sleepy, or just different than usual. Drinking can be a fun social activity; it can also be dangerous to your health.

Take a look below to see the short- and long-term effects that drinking alcohol has on your body.


Drinking regularly over a long period of time and drinking too much at a time—even just once—can both lead to diseases caused by alcohol abuse.

Your genes, family history, lifestyle, environment, and diet all play a part in how alcohol affects you in the short and long term, including how quickly you get drunk, how easily you sober up, and how likely it is that you will develop an alcohol-related condition.

With so many variables, how do you drink safely and responsibly? You can start by knowing what you are drinking and learning your limits.

A standard drink contains .6 ounces of alcohol, roughly the amount in 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, an eight-ounce well drink, or one shot of hard liquor.

Alcohol in a Standard Drink
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Experts recommend that men drink no more than two drinks per day and women no more than one. Drinking more than seven drinks per week for women and more than 14 for men is considered high-risk drinking and is likely to leave you at risk for alcohol-related disease. Binge drinking—four or more drinks at one time for women and five or more for men—is particularly dangerous for your health.

Always be aware of what and how much you are drinking. Never drink alcohol if you plan to drive, operate machinery, are pregnant, or think you might be.


©2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

“Alcohol and Your Body,” Brown University Health Promotion. Accessed January 8, 2016.,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/alcohol/alcohol_&_your_body.php

“Beyond Hangovers: Understand Alcohol’s Impact on Your Health,” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Revised October 2015.

“Interactive Body,” Accessed January 8, 2016.

“The Effects of Alcohol in the Body,” Huffpost Healthy Living. Updated January 3, 2013.

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