Some of the slang names for alcohol are booze, sauce, brewskis, hooch, hard stuff, and juice. Don't worry about trying to fit in or be cool when it comes to drinking alcohol. Most teens aren't drinking alcohol. Drinking is not as common or as "cool" as some people would like you to believe it is.
Alcohol is in drinks like beer, wine, liquor, wine coolers, whiskey, liqueurs, and even some coffee drinks. If you are not sure whether the drink you are going to have has alcohol in it, check the label. If there is alcohol in the drink, it has to say so on the label—it's the law. If you are still not sure or can't tell from the label, ask a trusted adult. Alcohol is really unhealthy for our bodies. It is considered a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The main job of the CNS is to send signals throughout the body. For example, the CNS tells you when to raise your hand in class or how to jump over a hurdle. Our brains think of the actions it wants our bodies to do and sends messages to that part of the body. When this system is slowed down by alcohol, the body can't react as quickly to the messages the brain is sending. That is why it is important for people not to drive after they drink alcohol.
Besides harming the central nervous system, alcohol can weaken our immune system and make us more likely to get sick or develop diseases.
Here are the parts of my body that could be damaged by alcohol if I chose to drink—yuck!
Drinking alcohol could cause your blood pressure to rise, increase your heart rate, cause your heart to beat abnormally, and it could increase the size of your heart. All of these things are bad for you. If you have an irregular heartbeat, you won't be able to play sports or exercise as well as you normally could.
Drinking alcohol could cause diseases such as cirrhosis (pronounced "sir-o-sis"), inflamed liver (hepatitis), or even cancer of the liver. The liver is the largest organ in our body. Its job is to keep poisons like germs and bacteria out of our blood. The liver also makes the protein that causes our blood to clot, and clotting is what causes scabs to form and makes us stop bleeding when we get a cut. We need our liver so we can stay healthy and so our bodies stay clean. Cirrhosis is a disease that damages the liver. It weakens the liver's ability to clot and keep our blood free from poisons and bacteria. People can get cirrhosis in different ways, but drinking too much alcohol is the most common way.
Drinking alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts. This means alcohol won't let you do the things you normally do that require coordination and skill. You can't ride a bike, inline skate, play sports, or even walk in a straight line.