Alcohol and your health

Alcohol affects young people more than it affects adults. The effects are more dangerous because if you are a teenager your body is still developing, which puts you more at risk of long term harm.

In 2009 the Chief Medical Advisor issued guidance to help minimise the risk of drinking amongst young people:

  • young people shouldn’t drink before they are 15 years old
  • even at age 15 or older drinking can affect your health so not drinking is the healthiest option
  • if 15 to 17 year olds drink it should be no more than one day a week and never more than the daily limit of 2-3 units a day for women and 3-4 units for men
  • if 15 to 17 years olds drink, it should be with their parent/carer or in a supervised environment.

The long term risks of drinking alcohol can include:

  • sexual health problems e.g. being unable to ‘get it up’ (erectile disfunction)
  • mental health issues such as depression and suicidal thoughts
  • cancer of the mouth and throat
  • the development of the brain.

Drinking too much can also put you at risk of:

  • accidents
  • getting into a fight
  • domestic violence or abuse
  • unprotected sex leading to an STI or pregnancy