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Common Street Names and Nicknames for Alcohol

Alcohol is by far the most commonly used drug in the world.1 As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol is also one of the most widely misused mind-altering substances. Over 140,000 people die from alcohol-related health problems every year.2

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol impaired driving caused 13,384 deaths in 2021, a 14% increase from 2020.3 Alcohol’s consequences often extend beyond the user and into society.

Risk factors for alcohol use disorder include genetics, underage drinking, expectations, and motivations for drinking. Treatment for an addiction may consist of detoxification, behavioral therapy, medications to help with cravings, and mutual support groups.

Hopefully by knowing the different names for alcohol, parents can find out if their children are drinking alcohol and, if so, learn ways to talk to them about alcohol use.

Nicknames and Slang Names for Alcohol

Although many people call it by its given name or simply refer to specific types of alcohol, others get more creative when referencing alcoholic drinks. This may be for several reasons–maybe people want a familiar name for alcohol or they are intentionally obscuring the reference because they don’t want others around them to know they are drinking.

Many people have heard of the names “booze,” “brew,” and “cold one” to describe alcohol, specifically beer. Some other common street names and nicknames for alcohol include:4

  • Juice.
  • Sauce.
  • Hooch.
  • Vino.
  • Liquid courage.
  • Hard stuff.
  • Moonshine.
  • Draft.
  • Suds.
  • Liquid bread.
  • Oats soda.
  • Tummy buster.
  • 12 oz. curl.
  • Redneck wine.

Many of these names have been around for years, while others are modern terms that are used in more limited circles. Some may have roots from other countries or old stories involving alcohol.

There are no doubt many other names that you can call a beer or other type of alcohol. Many groups or cliques, such as fraternities and college-based clubs, have their own special or unique names. In addition, other countries and regions may have name variations based on the popular types of alcohol served there.

Talking to children about alcohol use and knowing the warning signs of early alcohol use can help prevent life-long problems. Early alcohol use is associated with increased risk of alcohol dependence by early adulthood, as well as increased risk of alcohol dependence over an individual’s lifetime.5 In addition, alcohol use can affect school performance and social function and lead to risky or even illegal behavior, including drunk driving and crime.6

Who Is at Risk for Alcohol Addiction?

Many different factors affect a person’s risk for developing alcohol use disorder—from genetics to simply drinking frequently and excessively. Many experts believe that our genetic makeup is the main contributing factor in the development of alcohol dependency, determining that genetics comprise 50 to 60 percent of the risk for development of alcohol use disorders.7 The development of any form of compulsive substance use is complex, and while genetics are clearly an important set of variables, numerous factors can contribute to a person developing an alcohol addiction:

  • Genetics. Certain genetic profiles may increase a person’s risk of developing alcoholism, but they don’t guarantee it. There are many environmental factors that also affect a person’s risk for alcohol misuse and dependence.
  • Underage drinking. Research has shown that those who begin drinking at a younger age increase their risk of developing alcohol dependence.5
  • Binge drinking. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is known as “binge drinking,” defined by government research to be five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women within one episode.8 Binge drinking can speed the onset of physical dependence and tolerance. When these conditions develop, an individual’s system grows accustomed to higher amounts of alcohol intake, eventually requiring increasing amounts to experience the same effect or to avoid withdrawal. Binge drinkers are more likely to report more sick days and experience poor health compared to non-binge drinkers.9
  • Motivation. Why people choose to drink can influence their risk.10 Common reasons that may indicate an alcohol problem include stress reduction and mood enhancement, wherein a person is using alcohol to feel better rather than seeking positivity in non-substance sources.
  • Expectations. If a person believes that drinking alcohol will provide them with positive social, emotional, or status changes, they are more likely to drink larger amounts and more often. Social relationships can also have an effect on drinking habits and expectations, as drinking in a group leads to a stronger experience of euphoria than drinking alone. Social settings can facilitate overconsumption of alcohol.10

While each of these factors contributes in its own way, the development of an alcohol problem is never the result of any singular one. All of these factors interact with each other to create a risk profile for an individual’s likelihood of developing alcohol use disorder.11

Health Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol has many different effects on the brain and the body. Serious problems and chronic diseases can develop over the long-term. In addition to issues such as changes in mood and high blood pressure, individuals who misuse alcohol may develop tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

In the brain, alcohol slows cellular communication, resulting in behavioral effects, such as:1,12

  • Slurred speech.
  • Unsteady gait.
  • Intense emotions or changes in mood.
  • A blank, non-reactive stare or a total loss of consciousness. These can also be signs of potential alcohol poisoning.

Effects of Alcohol on the Body

In addition to brain changes, alcohol can cause other bodily damage, including:11,12

  • Damage to the heart muscle and other chronic cardiac problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stroke.
  • Gastrointestinal tract inflammation and ulceration.
  • Liver damage.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Immune system suppression.
  • Cancer, including throat, esophagus, mouth, liver, and breast cancer.

Alcohol is also dangerous because it reduces a person’s appetite and often replaces healthful caloric intake, leading to a malnourished diet that can give way to additional problems.11,12

Treatment and Rehab for Alcohol Addiction

Treatment for alcohol misuse and addiction can involve the following treatment aspects:

  • Medical detox programs. Treatment must start off with medically-supervised detox. Withdrawal can cause life-threatening seizures, so professional medical supervision is necessary in the beginning stages of withdrawal until a patient has stabilized and worsened withdrawal is not a threat.13
  • Inpatient drug rehab. Inpatient drug and alcohol rehabs provide 24/7 supervision and care while you reside at the center for the duration of the program.
  • Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab. Outpatient rehab for drug and alcohol misuse gives individuals the flexibility to attend treatment while continuing to live at home or in a sober living facility. There are multiple types of outpatient rehab programs, including intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs.
  • Behavioral therapy. Once the body is cleared of all alcohol and its short-term effects, behavioral therapy (psychotherapy) and counseling can begin. Behavioral therapies that target the key contributors toward drinking behavior and help the person understand why he or she was misusing alcohol can make a huge difference in a person’s life. The main goals of these therapies is to help patients understand their motivations for drinking and to help them find their own motivations for sobriety.13
  • Medications for alcohol addiction. These can be prescribed by a doctor to help with alcohol abstinence maintenance. Naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate are all currently used to help with recovery, but particularly positive results can come from a combination of medications and psychotherapy.14
  • Mutual support groups. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery can also provide aftercare support once a person leaves an alcohol addiction treatment program. These organizations provide a network of sobriety support that encourages long-term abstinence.

Are you or someone you care about struggling with alcohol addiction? Don’t let alcohol control your life any longer. Reclaim your power and discover the path to sobriety and lasting happiness. Start today by reaching out to our caring and compassionate team at . We’re ready to help 24/7.

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