Alcohol Fact Sheet


  Alcohol Fact Sheet

Coast to Forest Resources

Thank you for exploring our fact sheet series. To learn more about substance use and mental health, check out our other fact sheets. To find local resources, check out the Coast to Forest County-Specific Resource Guides. For a variety of national and state-focused resources, please visit our Helplines & Practical Tools page.

What is Alcohol?

  • Alcohol is an ingredient in beer, wine, and liquor that acts as a depressant drug1
  • Alcohol is produced when yeast, starches, or sugars are fermented1

What is a standard drink?

  • 12 oz Beer
  • 8-9 oz Malt liquor
  • 5 oz Wine
  • 1.5 oz Distilled spirits

How alcohol works

  • Once ingested, alcohol travels into the bloodstream where it affects the brain, kidneys, lungs, and liver and can cause a variety of negative effects when used in excess2

Short term health effects of alcohol

  • Alcohol poisoning, confusion, decreased heart rate, difficulty concentrating, impaired motor function, nausea/vomiting, seizures, slurred speech, slowed breathing1, 2-4

Long term health effects of alcohol

  • Alcohol poisoning, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), cancer, heart disease, learning/memory impairment, liver disease, increased risk of mental illness, and weakened immune system3, 4

Alcohol use disorder (AUD)

  • When consumption of alcohol results in significant impairment of daily living5

Alcohol use disorder treatment

Therapeutic interventions6
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Marital/Family Counseling
  • Group Therapies
  • Naltrexone
  • acamprosate
  • disulfiram


  1. Drug Facts: Alcohol
  2. What happens when you drink alcohol
  3. Effects of Alcohol on the Brain (Long & Short Term Effects)
  4. Alcohol Use and Your Health
  5. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
  6. Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help


This fact sheet was developed by the Oregon State University Coast to Forest team, a collaboration of the College of Health, OSU Center for Health Innovation and OSU Extension Service Family & Community Health program. We would like to thank the H 310 Health Field Experience students for their contributions.

For more information and to explore local resources, check out the Coast to Forest County-Specific Resource Guides.