Overheard On Campus: Why do certain types of alcohol, like whiskey or tequila, make some people act differently than when they drink beer?

Contributed by Rebecca Smith, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.S.A.T.

Different types of alcohol have different amounts of alcohol content by volume. What does that mean? Well, if a bottle of tequila is labeled as 80 proof, then it means it contains 40% alcohol and 60% other ingredients. Tequila and most other hard liquors, like whiskey, rum or vodka are usually 40-50% alcohol by volume, or 80-100 proof. Unlike liquor, most servings of beer are going to be 4-6% alcohol. Many times people who drink hard liquor will add more than a standard shot to their drink (sometimes equaling 2 or 3 shots!) because they are not aware of the proper amount. Adding 2 or 3 shots to one 12-ounce drink is the equivalent of drinking 2 or 3 whole beers.Bartender pouring shots, college students looking on

Most people are going to get drunk faster when they consume hard liquor because they don’t have to consume as much liquid to get a high volume of alcohol. Alcohol shuts down the judgment and coordination center of the brain. This is why most people act differently while drinking hard liquor as compared to just drinking beer. The amount of water in beer slows down the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream, so a person has to drink several beers to feel the same effect of having one glass of hard liquor, which will be absorbed more quickly.

Be safe and smart while drinking. Most people can only consume one beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of hard liquor per hour before going over the legal limit of a .08 blood alcohol level (alcohol tolerance and weight will affect this number, but in general this is a good rule to follow). If you drink more than one drink in an hour, your body won’t be able metabolize the alcohol, and your blood alcohol levels will go up. This will definitely affect the way you are behaving toward and around others.

Bottom line: Alcohol is alcohol, but pay attention to how much you’re drinking, especially if it’s hard liquor. Click here for more Overheard On Campus posts.

Any other advice to add? Have a story to share? Write a comment below!

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