Alcohol is commonly known as a depressant, meaning it slows down your brain activity reaction times. Depending on the amount of alcohol and have physical effects the next day including vomiting, headaches/migraines, stomach pain, and dehydration. Alcohol is very dangerous if mixed with other substances and long-term or heavy regular use can lead to serious health issues such as liver poisoning. Alcohol can be physically addictive and you may need help to stop.
There are many individual symptoms that depend on bodily reactions, including an increased appetite for most people. In terms of effects on the brain, alcohol lowers your usual abilities, for example, you may make some choices that you necessarily wouldn’t if sober.
This can include unsafe sex, violence or aggression. The effects can also affect your physical state as well as mental, for example under the influence of alcohol you could feel happy and less inhibited, become down and reduce your reflexes and it can also cause you to slur your words, get blurred vision, and lose coordination.
Binge drinking: Refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk. This includes consuming six or more units in a single session. The recommended weekly limit for alcohol is 14 units. While binge drinking you are more likely to lose control and you may make risky decisions. Binge drinking increases the risk of a heart attack. It can cause vomiting if your body cannot tolerate what or how much you are drinking and when under the influence there is a risk of inhaling vomit, leading to suffocation. Below is a drink-by-drink guide, based on a standard (175ml) 13% volume glass of white wine and 4% strength pint of lager, showing how quickly alcohol can affect your mind and body.
One glass of white wine or a pint of lager (just over two units):
- You’re talkative and you feel relaxed.
- Your self-confidence increases.
- Driving ability is already impaired. Drink driving is illegal in the UK, therefore the recommendation for travel arrangements while drinking would be a public service such as a taxi or to arrange a designated driver beforehand.
Two glasses of white wine or two pints of lager (just over four units):
- Your blood flow increases.
- You feel less inhibited and your attention span is shorter.
- You start dehydrating, one of the causes of a hangover.
Three glasses of white wine or three pints of lager (just under 7 units):
- Your reaction time is slower.
- Your liver has to work harder.
- Your sex drive may increase, while your judgment may decrease.
Four glasses of white wine or 4 pints of lager (just over 9 units):
- You’re easily confused.
- You’re noticeably emotional.
- Your sex drive could now decrease and you may become less capable.
Bear in mind that some people, including women, young people and those with smaller builds, may experience the effects after drinking smaller amounts of alcohol.
Alcohol is legal to consume at the age of 16 but sales are restricted for under 18’s.