Alcohol has a depressant effect on the central nervous system, and this is reflected in many of the symptoms of intoxication, such as slurred speech, uncoordinated movements, mood problems, sleepiness and slow reflexes.
Drinking as few as four drinks at a time may be sufficient to increase your risk of experiencing alcohol-related injury or health problems and the risk of injury and disease increases the more you drink. However, it’s not possible to predict how different people will react to alcohol, as its physiological effects vary according to gender, physical build, body fat levels and liver function. Genetic, psychological and social factors may also contribute.
For these reasons, some people are at greater risk of developing alcoholism. For example, women are less able than men to tolerate alcohol, and may develop dependency at a lower intake. A family history of alcoholism significantly increases the risk of becoming alcohol-dependent; this may be due to a combination of genetic and social factors.