Alcohol and its Health Risks for Young People.

Young people are at greater risk of alcohol-related harm than adults

As the brain keeps developing into the mid-twenties, drinking alcohol as a teenager can greatly increase the risk of damage to the developing brain. It can also lead to problems with alcohol later in life.

Drinking heavily over a short period of time with the intention of becoming drunk is known as binge drinking. (Binge drinking is also defined as drinking over the recommended level of standard drinks.)

Common effects of binge drinking include, hangovers, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and shakiness. As well as increasing the risk of short and longer-term

health problems, binge drinking can lead to young people taking risks and putting

themselves and others in dangerous situations – such as drink driving, swimming, and unsafe sex.

Drink driving and other risky behaviours increase the risk of alcohol-related harm (such as injury or death).

How parents can encourage responsible drinking.

Studies have shown that the most influential role models for children are their parents and carers. Children learn by imitation, so it is important to demonstrate sensible drinking behaviour such as:

  • Drink moderately or not at all.
  • Don’t drink every time you socialise.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Teach responsible drinking.

Preventing young people from risky drinking.

According to research, there are many important factors to help reduce the likelihood of a young person engaging in risky drinking.

As well as being a good role model, suggested ways parents and carers can help their child include:

  • Try to have a good relationship – encourage open communication.
  • Help them feel a sense of belonging with family, school or through activities and hobbies (such as a sporting club).
  • Reinforce positive achievements and experiences at school.
  • Encourage them to have a supportive relationship with a trusted adult outside the family (such as an older relative or friend, teacher or welfare officer).
  • Encourage them to look for opportunities to contribute to their community.
  • Help them feel respected and cared for.