Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version

Alcohol Consumption

  • Susan E. CollinsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center Email author 
  • , Megan KirouacAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center Email author 

Synonyms

Alcohol use; Drinking

Definition

Alcohol consumption, as the term is used in clinical and research applications, refers to the act of ingesting – typically orally – a beverage containing ethanol. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol (CH3CH2OH) is the only type of alcohol that is safe for human consumption. Other types of alcohol, such as isopropyl and methyl alcohol, are toxic and potentially lethal. Alcoholic beverages that are typically consumed may include beer, wine, distilled spirits, and beverages that contain combinations of these or other additives, including malt liquor, fortified wine, liqueur, and cordials. In certain populations, nonbeverage alcohol (e.g., hand sanitizer, vanilla extract, cooking wine) may also be consumed.

Description

Relevance to Behavioral Medicine

Alcohol consumption is an important construct in behavioral medicine because alcohol is a psychoactive substance that affects the body in various ways. In addition to its acute effects, it can have longer-term medical, ...

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