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How does alcohol affect me?

How does alcohol affect me?

For many of us, alcohol is something we enjoy – we use it to unwind, to celebrate, to commiserate and when socialising with friends.

However, from the very first sip, alcohol starts affecting your body and mind. Individual reactions to alcohol vary and are influenced by many factors, including age, gender, physical condition (weight, fitness etc), how quickly you drink, the amount of food eaten before drinking and many other factors.

Some of alcohol’s effects disappear overnight or the next day, while others can stay with you a lot longer or become permanent. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body – and your behaviour - is directly related to the amount consumed.

If you’ve drunk heavily the night before, you’ll almost certainly wake up with a hangover. Alcohol irritates the stomach, so heavy drinking can cause sickness and nausea, while alcohol also has a dehydrating effect, which is one reason why excessive drinking can lead to a severe headache the morning after. Use our drinks calculator to see how much of your low-risk weekly limit you consume on a night out.

Drinking too much, too often, can cause new health problems and worsen existing conditions. Alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease and a number of cancers, as well as many other serious illnesses and mental health problems.

As well as the health risks, alcohol affects us in many other ways, such as our appearance (particularly our skin) and our weight, while excessive drinking can have a detrimental effect on our relationships with family members and friends, as well as our ability to manage our finances and perform well in work.

Information and advice about alcohol and its affect on you is contained in our popular series of information leaflets:

Is Drinking Affecting Your Family?

Men & Alcohol: Making The Drink Link

Women & Alcohol: Making The Drink Link

Alcohol and Getting Older: Ageing Well

To order hard copies of any of these information leaflets please contact Alcohol Action Ireland at admin@alcoholactionireland.ie or call 01-8780610.