Having one or two drinks with friends or family can be enjoyable, alcohol is often part of socialising. But drinking in unhealthy ways can have negative effects on your physical and mental/emotional health such as, hangovers, memory & brain damage, liver disease & cancer and can make you feel anxious or depressed. Alcohol can also have negative effects on your lifestyle and relationship choices – making you more likely to take risks e.g. trying drugs or having sex with someone you wouldn’t normally have wanted to or having unprotected sex. It may also lead to you behaving out of character and getting into fights with friends.
How much can I drink is not the same as much is it safe to drink...
The following advice & recommendations are based on extensive research by a panel of experts:
• Children should not drink before they’re 15, if at all.
• 15-17 year olds should only drink when being supervised by a parent or adult.
• If 15-17 year olds drink, they should do so infrequently & definitely no more than one day a week. Not drinking is the healthiest option as any drinking, even at the age of 15 or older, can be dangerous to your health.
If you are under 18 and do decide to drink, try not to drink any more than:
• 2–3 units for girls or
• 3–4 units for boys every week.
For adults (over-18s) the guidelines are, to drink no more than:
• 2-3 units per day for women (no more than 14 units per week) including 2 – 3 alcohol free days per week or
• 3-4 units per day for men (no more than 21 units a week) including 2 – 3 alcohol free days per week
What is a unit of alcohol? You can find out more information about units by clicking here
Good advice if you are going to drink:
- drink plenty of water with the alcohol to keep you hydrated and have a large glass of water before you go to bed
- eat a filling meal before you start drinking – foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes and cheese will help line your stomach so you don’t feel the effects of alcohol as quickly
- try to stick to one type of drink all evening, that way you will minimise the number of toxins you’ll be consuming
- know your limits and be prepared to stop when you need to – you don’t have to keep up with everyone else
- make sure you are aware of what you are consuming – don't leave your drink unattended
- try not to drink every day/weekend – this will really benefit your health
- never drink and drive – even if you are officially under the limit, or you don’t feel under the influence, alcohol can affect your judgment and response-speed in imperceptible ways
- make sure you look after yourself and keep safe – alcohol makes us vulnerable in a number of ways