Alcohol – The Basics

superbad-mclovinAlcohol can seem like a great way to have a good time when you’re out with mates. When a drink is going around and everyone else seems to be getting involved, having one, two, three and more you feel as though you might look out of place if you don’t do the same.

The thing is, even though alcohol is legal for those over the age of 18, its effects can be even worse than drug abuse. For 16 – 24-year olds, 21% of deaths in males and 9% of deaths in females have been attributed to alcohol consumption.

But it’s not just the extremes we’re worried about, it’s the other stuff that happens.

The government recommends that men and women should not regularly exceed 14 units of alcohol per week. However, these recommendations are for adults, for young people the dangers of exceeding this are even greater.

What happens when you drink?

I'm invincible!

Alcohol is a very powerful stimulant. It makes you feel as if you are invincible, lowering your inhibitions making you more likely to do things that you probably wouldn’t even consider without having had a drink. This is all fine until your safety is compromised. Taking physical risks (jumping over fences or from great heights, running across roads, tripping or falling and hitting your head) can result in injuries, brain damage or even death making you not all that invincible at all.

I’m so much more relaxed and confident!

Alcohol allows you to discover a more confident and carefree side of your personality which sounds great on the surface but there are some definite down sides to this. You may wake up the next day and feel incredibly embarrassed or humiliated as you begin to remember all the things that you did or said to someone. You may be more inclined to have unprotected sex or sex with someone you would not be interested in were you sober. Being confident is great. Being confident without having your rational thought is not great.

I’ve lost control

The more you drink, the more you lose control of your body. Drinking a lot of alcohol in one sitting leads to the loss of control of your limbs. First of all, you might just be a bit unsteady on your feet, tripping and falling over (an embarrassing and off-putting experience in itself). However, if you then continue drinking, you could end up paralytic putting you in an extremely vulnerable scenario. Your friends or whoever is around you should take the necessary action in getting you home which will not leave them best pleased. If there isn’t anyone around you to help or your friends get swept along with the group, you will be alone, unable to move and potentially unconscious. Unfortunately, there are people out there looking to take advantage of someone in this situation. Don’t let this be you.

Looking after your body

The internal effects of excessive alcohol consumption are extremely damaging, especially on younger bodies. Bad breath, bad skin, breakouts and weight gain are just some of the short-term side effects. Long-term you could be severely damaging your liver and brain. Even though you might not notice these things immediately, a few years down the line, you’ll be resenting your younger self for the time you’ll spend in hospital.

But everyone does it – it’s normal for people my agepart-drinking-underage

It’s easy to go along with what everyone else is doing but unfortunately most people don’t realise the dangers and the consequences if things go wrong. You are your own person and in control of what you drink or don’t drink.

Drinking makes me feel better

Drinking alcohol can be an attractive way to let loose and escape from whatever else is going on in your life. In this way, it can act as a drug and become addictive like a crutch to lean on when you’re feeling sad, hopeless, stressed out etc. If you’re worried about your relationship with alcohol you can talk to Safeline or any of the sites below.

Someone I know drinks a lot

Do you know someone who drinks a lot on a regular basis? It might be a family member or friend. Maybe you don’t like the way they act, either towards you or other people, or you’re worried about their health or safety.

For help and advice:


Drink Aware



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