With the secular new year around the corner, Soroka University Medical Center is warning the public to avoid excessive drinking of alcohol.The hospital said on Monday that in recent years, the amount of social drinking – especially among young people – has increased, leading to physical and mental harm to those who over-imbibe.In the short term, excessive drinking can cause coordination problems, fuzzy vision and nausea and, in the longer term, addiction, digestive problems, pancreatitis, liver damage and harm to the brain and nervous system.Adina Ben-Aharon, head of the nutrition and diet unit at the Beersheba medical center, said no one under 18 should drink alcohol – which it is illegal as well as dangerous – and that adults should also be careful.The amount of alcohol is 5 percent in beer; 10% to 15% in wine; and some 40% or more in brandy, whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila and some liquors.A single “drink” constitutes 330 ml. of beer, 140 ml. of dry wine, and 30 ml. of whiskey, vodka, brandy, gin or rum.Moderate use is one drink per woman and two drinks per man. Diabetics who drink alcohol could suffer from a hypoglycemia attack – immediately or thereafter.Drinking alcohol when taking prescription medications can cause harm and affect their efficacy. Non-alcoholic, noncarbonated beverages should be taken before, after or during drinking to dilute the alcohol in the blood and prevent dehydration.Drinking alcoholic beverages with lower amounts of alcohol, such as beer or wine, is preferable to drinking hard liquor.Don’t eat salty snacks while drinking alcohol, as this makes users more thirsty. If you must drink, do so slowly.Prof. Mati Lifshitz, chairman of Soroka’s pediatrics branch and head of the toxicology unit, said that driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous because it impairs judgement and slows reaction time. Significant drinking by adolescents can cause the loss of consciousness and even death, as well as antisocial violence.