Health advice for young people

Alcohol

Alcohol is bad for you. It can:

  • seriously damage your heart, liver, kidneys and stomach
  • cause brain damage – drinking too much in one go can kill
  • be extremely dangerous if you take other drugs as well
  • make you pile on weight and affect your skin

If you or your friends choose to drink alcohol, remember:

  • don't drink too often or too much
  • drink at your own pace and do not try to keep up with the others

Alcohol comes as beer, lager, alcopops, cider, wine or spirits. Many young people drink alcopops, which taste like soft drinks but often contain more alcohol than beer.

Although some people might feel relaxed, merry and giggly, you could also feel irritable, depressed or aggressive, have a headache, feel sick or become dehydrated.

Know about alcohol

Alcohol gets into the bloodstream within a few minutes of drinking and is carried to all parts of the body. The effects can take hours to wear off, and will vary depending on:

  • how much you drink
  • how quickly you are drinking
  • what you've been drinking – strong drinks like spirits and fizzy drinks like cider are absorbed more quickly
  • how used you are to drinking alcohol
  • your size and weight

If you are small and light, the alcohol will be more concentrated in your body. This means alcohol will affect a person who isn't fully grown more quickly.

It's a biological fact that, drink for drink, alcohol will affect a woman more than a man. Women are generally smaller than men, their bodies contain less water and their metabolism is different.

Alcohol affects physical co-ordination, reaction times and decision-making. People who are drunk are more likely to have an accident, get into arguments or take stupid risks. They may feel sick, have blackouts or lose consciousness.

Drinking alcohol together with taking illegal drugs is particularly dangerous – you are more likely to have a serious drug overdose.

It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol.

Go to our support services page if you need help with an alcohol problem.