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What are the risks? | Drink Responsibly
Underage Drinking

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Jan 2016

What are the risks?

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Young people who drink are more likely to be the victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic accidents, and to have depression and anxiety. Other risky behaviours are also linked to early drinking. Young people who start using alcohol before age 21 are more likely to:

Liver Damage

Think only alcoholics get liver damage? Not true.

Young people who drink regularly are equally at risk and start to damage their livers without realising.

Trouble is, the warning signs only show after a few years.

Mental Health

Alcohol doesn’t just affect young people physically.

Evidence points to alcohol misuse and mental disorders being closely related (8).

In other words, young people who drink excessively may be more likely to also have disturbed mental health, even self-harm.

Brain Development

During childhood and teenage years, the brain is still developing. Adding alcohol to that process is asking for trouble.
It can affect memory function, reactions, learning ability and attention span (7) – all especially important during their school years.

Drinking could affect your child’s performance at school and prevent them from reaching their full potential.

Appearance and Side Effects

We all want to look and feel good – and adolescents are no exception.
Sadly, alcohol can be a one-way ticket to feeling and looking downright grotty!

Research shows that underage drinkers are more likely to suffer from a range of health issues including major weight gain or weight loss, bad skin, disturbed sleep, headaches …the list goes on.

Accidents and Injuries

Just as with adults, alcohol can reduce a child’s mental and physical abilities, affecting judgment and co-ordination – which can lead to trouble.

Research shows adolescents who tested positive for alcohol were more likely to get injured or have accidents than non-drinkers. More worrying still, they’re more likely to be a passenger in a drink-driving incident.

Alcohol Poisoning

Anyone who drinks a lot in a short space of time can suffer alcohol poisoning. The level of alcohol gets so high that the brain’s vital functions, which include breathing control, are blocked.

Nearly 4000 children were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning last year. Each year some children die like that. Even if the breathing is not stopped, people who slip into an alcohol coma may die by choking on their own vomit.

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