Over the years, scientists have documented the effects of alcohol on many of the body’s organ systems and its role in the development of a variety of medical problems, including
Effects on Physical Health
The relationship between alcohol consumption and stroke risk has been examined in two recent overviews. In a meta-analysis, researchers compared the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes (English et al. 1995). They detected no differences in the risk patterns for the two types of stroke but found clear evidence that heavy drinking was associated with increased stroke risk, particularly in women.
Among young people, long-term heavy alcohol consumption has been identified as an important risk factor for stroke (You et al. 1997). Very recent alcohol drinking, particularly drinking to intoxication, has been found to be associated with a significant increase in the risk of ischemic stroke in both men and women aged 16 through 40 years
Psychosocial Consequences and Cognitive Effects
Alcohol use plays a role in many social activities, from the “business lunch” and parties to special occasions. The benefits to those who drink during social occasions are greatly influenced by culture, the setting in which drinking occurs, and expectations about alcohol effects ( Goldman et al. 1987; Heat h1987; Leigh 1989; Leigh and St a c y1991). Stress reduction, mood elevation, increased sociability, and relaxation