Alcohol is the most commonly used legal drug in Australia. It’s a depressant which means that it slows down the brain.

Many people drink alcohol to have fun, but it's easy for it to get out of hand. If your drinking is starting to affect things that matter to you it can be a good idea to talk to someone about your options.

What does it do?

As a general rule, alcohol can make you feel more confident and relaxed, slow down your reflexes and affect your balance and coordination.

Drinking too much can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, people can even pass out and may not remember what happened. They may do risky things that they wouldn’t do while sober.

The effect of alcohol on an individual depends on lots of things such as;

  • how much you weigh

  • how healthy you are

  • how regularly you drink

  • what kind of mood you’re in when you drink

  • who you’re drinking with.

Alcohol can impact on your physical health in a number of ways.

Short term effects include:

  • difficulty sleeping

  • lower immunity

  • trouble concentrating

  • difficulty getting motivated.

Long term alcohol use can cause additional problems like:

  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • brain damage

  • liver disease as well as different kinds of cancers.

If you’re pregnant, drinking alcohol can lead to serious health problems.

What is the connection between alcohol and mental health?

Alcohol can have a major impact on mental health. Because alcohol is a depressant, it slows your body down and changes the chemical makeup in your brain. This has many effects. It can alter:

  • mood

  • energy levels

  • sleeping patterns

  • concentration

  • memory and many other things.

Frequent or heavy alcohol use can increase these effects, especially the impact on mood, and the ability to cope with tough times.

People who are experiencing a mental health difficulty may use alcohol to try and manage hard times or lift their mood. This can be helpful in the short term but may make things much harder to handle in the long run.

Need to talk to someone?

If you are feeling your alcohol use is starting to affect things that matter to you it can be helpful to talk to someone about your options.

For more info

This information was originally produced by Headspoace, in their article How does does alcohol affect you.

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