How alcohol can cause harm to our mental health and to the children and teens in our lives. And what we can do about it.
To help others, we need to be informed ourselves. Young people like us are bombarded by the idea that drinking is crucial to enjoying life. In Ireland, it can seem like alcohol has to be a part of practically every occasion. Alcohol companies also intrude in so many aspects of our lives, selling the message that their products are key to having fun, being popular, celebrating, and shaping our lifestyles. The truth is a bit different. Despite our bravado, we’ve all, at times, seen or felt the danger and damage alcohol can cause.
The fact is that, being young, we’re more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, as our bodies and brains are still developing – even in our 20s. So imagine the damage it does to the children we know and our teenage brothers and sisters. This is science not opinion. Drinking, especially binge drinking, can cause a range of negative effects. It impacts our ability to cope with everyday stresses in our lives and can even harm our physical and mental health. In fact, the more young people drink, the more likely they are to feel anxious or depressed.
When you add on day-long hangovers accompanied by mood drops, or the realisation that you have done something dangerous or embarrassing, then it becomes very clear that alcohol often has the opposite effect of the message the alcohol companies sell.
Encourage the kids and teens in your life not to drink. Make sure they know how harmful drinking lessens concentration, weakens coping skills and causes sadness and isolation.
They’re more likely to listen to you.