Do's and Doh's

Sometimes we just need to ask the question we don’t know the answers too……

I am 15 years old and I have never tried alcohol but my mates are always drinking. Should I drink to be 'in' with my mates?

Not at all! You are your own person and you should decide whether to drink or not. It's up to your mates if they want to drink, just like it's up to you if you choose not to. If you feel pressured into drinking then maybe they're not the friends you thought they were. There are many other things you can do with your mates other than drink; why not suggest the cinema or skate park

My friend pressured me into drinking and now when I don't drink I shake and crave alcohol. What should I do?

If you are still drinking and feel you need some support you can ring SWITCH on 01384 241440 or text on 07500 015 293 (reply within office hours). They will talk you through their service and help you with your drinking. You can also try and avoid the peer pressure; here are some things to consider:
  • Be confident about who you are and know your limits
  • Decide what it is that you don’t want to do
  • Think of reasons for not doing something that you can share with your friends
  • Have genuine friendships based on the things you have in common, and not just popularity
  • Tell one of your closer friends - you never know they may feel the same as you
  • Talk about how you feel with someone you trust - a friend, family member, youth worker etc.

I have a problem with booze; I’m spending £20 a day on drink. How can I get help to stop?

Do you have a mate you can talk too, or a family member? If you do then explain to them your problems, they might be able to support you by helping you to control your money. You should also ring the support services to get help with your drinking and they will put you in contact with people who can support you with money worries. If you are under 18 years old you can call SWITCH on 01384 241440 or text on 07500 015 293 (reply within office hours). If you are 18 years or over you can call Atlantic Recovery Centre on 01384 426 120.

Is there a good way to cut down on alcohol so I can eventually quit?

Talk to your doctor or call the treatment services, their details can be found on the support page on this website. If you choose to start the path to recovery alone, bear in mind that alcohol withdrawal can potentially be deadly. If you start experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms (panic attacks, severe anxiety, the shakes, rapid heart beat) you should seek immediate medical assistance.

I think I cheated on my partner when I was drunk. What can I do?

Be honest! Be honest with yourself about the relationship you have with your partner if you have cheated, and be honest with your boyfriend/ girlfriend about the incident. If you didn’t use contraception (or can’t remember if you did) you might want to go to your local GUM clinic for sexual health advice. Details can be found at

What are the effects of excessive drinking?

There is no guaranteed safe level of drinking and the effects of excessive drinking will depend mainly on how much you are drinking and over what period of time. The short term effects can be slurred speech, dehydration, feeling / being sick, headache, poor judgements, sleepiness, loss of co-ordination, not being able to walk or stand and short-term memory loss. The longer-term effects of excessive drinking can vary. If you drink over the recommended limits on a regular basis then you are at a higher risk of cancer of the mouth and throat, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and heart disease. You may also find you feel tired or depressed, or gain extra weight, have trouble sleeping or have sexual problems. If you are a binge drinker, (this is when you drink twice the recommended amount in a drinking session) the above effects might not be something you think you need to worry about. But as a binge drinker you are more likely to have an accident - falls are common because being drunk affects your balance and co-ordination. In extreme cases, you could die. Overdosing on alcohol can stop you breathing or stop your heart, or you could choke on your vomit. Binge drinking can affect your mood and your memory and in the longer term can lead to serious mental health problems.

What is the best drink to have?

For people who drink alcohol they generally have a favourite drink. Someone who drinks a nice bottle of wine might enjoy the taste, whereas someone who drinks white lightening might drink it as its cheap to buy. Alcohol is alcohol but its how it is processed and what it is mixed with that gives it the taste. If you have never had an alcoholic drink it would be worth thinking about the types of flavours you like and picking something similar. You might also want to consider the % strength of the drink, the higher the % (for example 42%) would contain more alcohol compared with a drink at a lower % (for example 12%). One drink isn't necessarily better than another; just remember to try and stay within the recommended limits and the law. If you are under 18 years old you need to know where you stand, so check out the Law Page on this website.

Why do people who drink get a hangover?

Hangover symptoms vary between people, but they mainly involve sickness, headache and tiredness, feeling dizzy, thirsty, still feeling drunk the morning after, body and muscle aches, diarrhoea, bad breath, sensitivity to light and loud sounds, depression, and irritability You might also experience elevated levels of anxiety, regret, shame, embarrassment, as well as depression. How hung-over you feel will generally depend on how dehydrated you were before the drinking began, whether you drank plenty of water during the drinking session and how much sleep you got afterwards. A hangover is the consequence of having consumed too much alcohol and is caused by dehydration. This is due to the ethanol in your drinks. This is a chemical that works in the body as a diuretic (removes water), so you wee more when you drink and become dehydrated.

Why do people drink?

People drink for all different types of reasons and as you progress through life the reasons why you drink might change. So a young person might want to be ‘in with the crowd’ and drink to gain confidence in their social circle, whereas a 50 year old man might drink in the pub with his mates to get out of the house for an evening. Some people like the taste or they like the way it makes them feel, for example they might feel more confident or feel more socially accepted, other people might drink to get a buzz or simply to “get drunk”. Peer pressure to drink is very common with young people and with adults too! Do not go for a "hair of the dog" - an alcoholic drink to get rid of a hangover. This is a myth, and will likely just prolong your hangover symptoms.

What does having your stomach pumped actually mean?

Stomach "pumping" is when the hospital removes the contents of your stomach by inserting a long narrow tube through your mouth or nose into your stomach. This tube is used to suck up the contents of your stomach. This is done when someone has ingested something that that can be harmful if digested- like too much alcohol. Alcohol is digested and absorbed into the blood stream rather quickly, so it is not in the stomach very long. If you pass out and vomit this is the body's way of trying to protect itself from the poison (in this case alcohol). If you think someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning then call 999 and get them some help. Too much alcohol can be deadly; have a look at the Going Out Tonight page for more information on staying safe.