Many cultures use alcohol or “ALAK” in Philippines 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. 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. When you drink alcohol, your bloodstream absorbs the alcohol from your stomach and small intestine. Your liver only metabolizes a small amount of alcohol at a time; the rest continues to flow through your bloodstream. Excess alcohol traveling through the bloodstream depresses the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as drowsiness and slowed reaction time. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that women not exceed one drink per day and men not exceed two drinks per day. Drinking too much alcohol has negative health effects over time. For example, drinking too much increases your risks of some types of cancer, brain damage, liver damage and immune system problems. It also makes some health problems worse, such as osteoporosis, ulcers, diabetes and high blood pressure. People who abuse alcohol may also have problems at school, work or home, have a higher risk of driving drunk or become physically dependent on alcohol.
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