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Alcohol and Other Drugs

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol affects different people in different ways—it depends on many factors. Small amounts of alcohol can make people feel happy and relaxed. But, too much alcohol can cause negative effects like confusion, dizziness, vomiting, passing out, and even death from alcohol poisoning.

People absorb alcohol at different rates depending on their weight, body type, metabolism, gender, whether they’ve eaten, and if they take any medicine. Factors that affect how drunk a person gets includes how big the drinks are, how strong they are, and how fast the person drinks them.

Alcohol makes us think, move, and react slower. After 1 drink, a person may feel more relaxed. If they keep drinking, it affects their:

  • coordination
  • balance
  • reaction time
  • judgment
  • ability to make decisions

The effects of drinking alcohol also depend on how the person is feeling (e.g., if they’re stressed out, bummed out, or feeling good)

Alcohol often loosens people up and makes them less self-conscious. It might be easier to talk to others or be with a group. Some people might say or do things they wouldn't normally do if they weren't drinking. This is when people can get into trouble because they may take risks that could be harmful.

Taking risks when you've been drinking can lead to:

  • getting hurt or even death—alcohol-related injury is the major cause of death in teens and young adults
  • sexual risk-taking—this includes unwanted sex, unplanned pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • suicide and self-harm—higher risk in teens and young adults who drink heavily or often

Knowing about the effects of alcohol can help you understand how it affects you and what you can do to lower the risk of something bad happening to you.

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