Although alcohol is a legal substance it does not mean that it cannot be harmful to you or
those around you. Alcohol acts as a depressant (a depressant is a drug that reduces the
function or activity of a specific part of the body or brain) lowering your inhibitions and giving
you a false sense of confidence. It also makes you less regretful of the things you do whilst
intoxicated. It also affects the nervous system; messages sent from various parts of the body
take longer to reach the brain and this will slow down your reaction time/reflexes.
As alcohol is a depressant drug it can be very dangerous to use with other substances as the effects are
unpredictable. If alcohol is used with another depressant the effects on the brain and body are increased.
When consumed within safe drinking guidelines alcohol can be relaxing and enjoyable. For most people when
alcohol is consumed safely and responsibly it is not dangerous.
The government has advised that people should not regularly drink more than the daily unit
guidelines which are 3–4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 units of alcohol for women.
‘Regularly’ means drinking every day or most days of the week. It has also been suggested
if you have part taken in a heavy drinking session you should take a break for at least
However, for some people any amount of alcohol can be harmful. Alcohol can react or interfere with medication -
it is advisable to speak to your GP or pharmacist if you are prescribed medication.
If your alcohol consumption has caused you serious problems with relationships, finances, health or the
criminal justice system, or you have undergone an alcohol detoxification you are strongly advised not to drink
alcohol at all.
When you make the decision to drink you must be responsible for the amount of alcohol you consume. Drinking
above recommended safe limits can leave you in an extremely vulnerable position.
Alcohol-related issues can affect anyone at any age, but the problems caused by an addiction will be unique to