Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Drugs & Alcohol

Find information on alcohol and illegal drugs, caffeine and nicotine, and information on addiction.


Is there a link between alcohol and diabetes?

Diabetes is a lot of work. Everything that goes into your mouth has an effect on your blood sugar, including alcohol. And new research raises the possibility that alcohol does more than just aggravate type 2 diabetes – it might cause it. See more »

What is the difference between binge drinking and alcoholism?

Some binge drinkers are alcoholics, and some alcoholics are binge drinkers, but the two don't totally overlap. And it's not just semantics -- understanding the differences between the two may help us with effective prevention. See more »

Can alcohol cause anxiety?

Insomnia, upset stomach, sweating, fast heartbeat -- this is the day-to-day of someone with an anxiety disorder. A cocktail (or a beer or glass of wine) can affect anxiety in many ways, but some people think one is almost a side effect of the other. See more »

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor, goes the saying. But do you really know your blood alcohol math? This is an equation where 1 + 1 comes out a little crazy. See more »

What does alcohol proof mean?

Alcohol proof is always twice the alcohol percentage, right? Wrong. That depends on where on the globe you happen to be. And that's probably not the only thing you don't know about proof. See more »

What's an alcohol vaporizer?

For some, drinking alcohol has become passé. The latest questionable device du jour? The alcohol vaporizer, which manufacturers claim gets you drunker faster -- with none of the bad side effects. Let's examine those claims. See more »

What is the relationship between alcohol and gout?

Gout is far more terrible than it sounds. This form of arthritis that often attacks the big toe causes excruciating pain -- the kind that will make you do just about anything to make it stop. What does that mean for the beer in front of you? See more »

Why do some antibiotics interact with alcohol?

If you're in bed with a bacterial infection, your misery might be alleviated by a hot toddy. But you can't drink while taking antibiotics, can you? Well, it depends on the drug. Some antibiotics just don't mix well with cocktails -- and here's why. See more »

Can I get cancer from one cigarette?

A 2010 surgeon general's report about the dangers of smoking led to headlines warning "One Cigarette Can Kill You!" Should you take this claim with a grain of salt or start worrying about that cigarette you puffed at a party five years ago? See more »

Why do some people get flushed when they drink?

It can be embarrassing, but it also may be a survival skill. Find out why some of us get red-faced while tying one on. See more »