People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. Why does alcohol cause people to act and feel differently? How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is researching the answers to these and many other questions about alcohol.

Here’s what is known: Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including: how much you drink; how often you drink; your age; your health status; your family history.

While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem—drinking too much can cause a range of consequences and increase your risk for a variety of problems.

Alcoholism infographic.