The Lowdown
20 July 2022 • 5 min read

Alcohol and Drugs

There are lots of reasons you might want to drink alcohol or take drugs. It could be to have fun when you’re with friends, to relax and take your mind off things, you might be feeling peer pressure or maybe you’re just interested in them and want to try it out and experiment. For some people, your first experience of alcohol or drug use may be with your family.

A boy falling onto a trampoline which is split in half, one side with a lady blowing smoke and alcohol being poured over him. The other half is kids playing outside at a birthday party.

We’re not going to tell you that’s ok - drug use and heavy drinking is harmful and can cause you serious damage, but we know that you may be experimenting regardless, so it’s important that you know how to be safe and protect yourself from harm.

Check out the Drug Foundation’s rules for safer drug use here

If drugs and alcohol become a larger part of your life this could gradually increase your chances of facing struggles with your mental health.

The thing is, you might feel good at the time but in the days or weeks after a big night you may often feel worried, down and sometimes your sense of reality can be affected. That’s because the alcohol and/or drugs have changed the balance of chemicals that help your brain think, feel, create or make decisions.

Here are some ways that excessive drinking of alcohol or taking drugs could impact your life:

  • Mood swings
  • Struggling to eat normally and care for yourself
  • Struggles at school or work
  • Your memory may not be working as well
  • Feeling tired and drained
  • Money struggles
  • You may find yourself damaging or losing relationships with people you care about

Even if you know that using these substances isn’t good for you, sometimes it’s hard to say ‘no’ when all your mates are getting on it. If you’re doing things you don’t enjoy just to fit in with your friends, that’s worth thinking about a bit more. If you’re old enough to drink, here are some tips to stay safe.

It’s important to remember:

  • If you’re thinking about quitting and don’t think you can resist the offer or pressure when you’re around certain people, be honest with your friends and ask for their support. If they’re not on board with you quitting, try taking a time out from those activities with them and hang out with other people who share similar interests but don’t use the drugs and/or alcohol you’re trying to avoid.
  • There are less harmful ways of feeling good. Making choices that put your safety first doesn’t have to be boring or hard!
  • Most importantly – know your limits and be safe!

If you think that your drinking or drug use might be a bit too much, reach out to a professional or someone you trust and ask them for help.

Here is a link to support if your family or someone you love is struggling with addiction.

Where to get help:

If you’re thinking about harming yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 0508 82 88 65 now to talk to someone who cares and can support you.

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