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What is it?

Alcohol (aka booze) is a depressant and the active ingredient is ethanol. It slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body – basically it means that we are a few steps behind the beat.

Alcohol is consumed by drinking it. To drink is to swallow some kind of liquid – pretty straightforward huh?

What are the effects?

Alcohol will do the same job of getting us drunk no matter what our choice of drink (e.g., beer, wine or spirits) but it all depends on how much we drink and over what period of time – think drink, drank, drunk!

Different types of alcohol have different potency levels, so best to check the label on the bottle for its alcohol content level or the number of standard drinks it contains. A Google search can give us information about tap drinks and spirit or shots.

  • Feeling relaxed
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Slower reflexes
  • Increased confidence
  • Heightened mood – so feeling happier or sadder, depending on our mood
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and brain damage
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Difficulty with pregnancy and becoming pregnant
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure and heart disease

Sobering up

There is no way to speed up the process of getting sober. The liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol and it takes its time – roughly one standard drink an hour. Having coffee, taking a shower or getting some fresh air may make us feel more alert, but it doesn’t change the amount of alcohol in our body – so sorry to disappoint, but despite how good the Maccas delivery was, it’s not changing our blood alcohol content.


There’s a fine line between stupidly drunk and dangerously intoxicated – and it’s possible to overdose on alcohol. Knowing the signs of overdose helps keeps us and others safe, and when we might need to call an ambulance. Watch out for these symptoms and call 000 in an emergency:




Blurred vision




Memory loss


Nausea and vomiting


Passing out



If we consume too much in a short period of time it increases our chances of experiencing alcohol poisoning – and that’s pretty serious business. It can result in our death, so yikes…

Mixing with other drugs

The effects of mixing booze with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous. Do not mix alcohol with the following medications because it may increase the risk of overdose, and even death:

  • Ketamine
  • Opioids
  • Benzos

Discover more about the unsafe interactions between alcohol and other drugs at TripSit.

HIV Medications

The interactions between alcohol and antiretroviral medications are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that alcohol use directly reduces the efficacy of antiretroviral medications. If some new research comes to light, then we’ll update this section and let you know.

The interactions between alcohol and PrEP and PEP are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that alcohol use directly interacts with these medications or reduces their efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update you if any new research comes to light.

To learn about the interactions between specific HIV medications and alcohol head to Liverpool HIV Drug Interactions Checker.


There’s currently no evidence to suggest that alcohol use directly reduces the efficacy of HRT. We’ll keep looking and update this information if something new comes to light.

Alcohol and feminising hormone/anti-androgen use can impact liver function, and how long we experience the effects of alcohol as the liver takes longer to break the alcohol down. It can also affect our ability to concentrate and make us feel drowsy, sleepy or fatigued.

We don’t yet understand the relationship between alcohol, progesterone, and breast cancers, so it’s wise to regularly chat with a healthcare professional and perform checks of our chest, keeping an eye on how our breast tissue may change.

We don’t currently have a lot of research to tell us about how Testosterone prescribed in HRT contexts interacts with Alcohol use. It’s a good idea to be in regular contact with a healthcare professional to keep an eye on blood work in case testosterone and/or alcohol begin to affect our liver health.

For more information about Alcohol, head to the Australian Drug Foundation.

The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way.