There are a number of reasons why people drink alcohol. In small amounts, alcohol can make a person feel more relaxed and sociable. But alcohol can also make you lose control, become depressed or aggressive, or to take risks that you would otherwise not take.
- Alcohol is a drug with the effects of a depressant. It slows down the activity of the brain, affecting your reflexes and your ability to react. It can also affect your judgement
- How you will be affected depends on many factors, including your weight, sex, the amount you drink, how quickly you drink, the length of time since you ate and whether you are mixing it with other drugs
The fact that you will often see positive advertising about alcohol, that it is legal and that many people drink it, doesn't eliminate the problems it can cause. It is still a drug and it is worth knowing what the risks can be
A worrying trend is the rising number of young people who binge drink. Too much alcohol can lead to:
- Choking to death if you vomit in your sleep
- Alcohol poisoning - potentially fatal
- Taking risks such as unsafe sex or driving while drunk
- Increased aggression, arguments and assaults
- A coma. This can happen when you mix alcohol with other depressant drugs like heroin or tranquillisers
- Dehydration, overheating or death when mixed with Ecstasy
In the long term, heavy drinking can affect your work and relationships, your physical health (liver damage, mouth and throat cancer and stomach and heart damage) and your mental health (psychological dependency and depression).
If you have a question about alcohol or you need advice or support with an alcohol related problem, try one of the listed websites or contacts.