Alcohol is a legal (though regulated) substance in Canada. It is a nervous system depressant and can be consumed in moderation with limited risks. Consuming alcohol does affect the body, presenting changes to concentration, speech, balance and coordination, judgement and senses (such as vision).
While alcohol consumption is generally accepted in Canada, it becomes a problem when it is consumed in excess regularly and begins to interfere with your day-to-day function. In some cases where large quantities of alcohol are consumed regularly, it can be dangerous to suddenly stop on your own.
For informaton on Canada's low-risk drinking guidelines, click here.
Signs of alcohol addiction include:
Short term effects of excess alcohol consumption include:
Long term effects of excess alcohol consumption include:
There are three main stages to becoming alcohol dependent:
No Major Harm – There are no negative impacts to the person’s work or social life. Their health is not at risk in any significant way.
Starting to develop health problems and problems with work/social life/the law – Some people will cut back or quit drinking on their own when they notice these problems.
Person cannot stop – Despite recognizing the harm, the person continues to drink. They may tremble when sober, have decreased appetite and mood swings or depression.
 Alcohol abuse. Health Canadians – Government of Canada. http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/health-sante/addiction/alcohol-alcool-eng.php
 Drugs: Know the Facts, Cut Your Risks (Addiction Prevention Centre, 2008) 38-39.
 Ibid. 33.
 About Alcohol. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/alcohol/Pages/about_alcohol.aspx