Although it is legal for those aged 18 and over to buy and drink alcohol, that doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful than other drugs.
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Alcohol can be enjoyed safely and in moderation, but drinking too much can affect your health and wellbeing.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it disrupts the balance of the chemistry in our brains, affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions. Regular and heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in our brains, and not only negatively impacts on your health, but can also affect relationships with family and friends and can impair your ability to perform certain tasks.
For many, drinking alcohol is a social occasion. People who see themselves as social drinkers are at risk of developing long-term health conditions if they are regularly exceeding the recommended maximum intake, which is 14 units per week.
For those who do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is recommended that they spread this evenly over 3 or more days. Too much alcohol on a single occasion can lead to long term illnesses, accidents injuries and alcohol poisoning, which could lead to a coma or even death.
Short term risks refer to the immediate risks of injury and accident due to drunkenness. Probability of short term risks are 2-5 times more likely from drinking just 5-7 units.
- Head injuries
- Facial injuries
- Alcohol Poisoning
- These include damage to your body that can take years to develop and which leads to a wide range of serious health problems, such as cancers and heart disease
Affects on your mood
- Reduced feelings of anxiety and inhibitions, making you feel more sociable
- Alcohol will often exaggerate whatever mood you're in when you start drinking
- The short-term effects of alcohol can last for a day or two, depending on how much you drank, including the hangover
Four ways to help prevent alcohol affecting your mood
1. Use exercise and relaxation to tackle stress instead of alcohol
2. Learn breathing techniques to help relax when you feel anxious
3. Talk to someone about your worries. Don’t try and mask them with alcohol
4. Always be aware of why you’re drinking. Don’t assume it will make a bad feeling go away, it’s more likely to exaggerate it