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What are the signs and effects?

Effects of Alcohol

What may be some signs that my teenager is drinking?

There are a number of signs that your teenager may be drinking:

Some of these signs may be similar to the normal behaviour changes that teenagers go through, so it is important not to jump to conclusions.

How can alcohol affect my teenager?

Behaviour and mental health

Heavy drinking and binge drinking have been linked to anti-social behaviour, mental health problems and permanent brain damage.

Premature death

The main causes of death among 16 to 25 year olds are accidents, suicide and violence. Alcohol is often involved in these cases.

Unsafe sex

There is a definite link between drinking alcohol before sex and not using contraception. This can lead to crisis pregnancy and an increased risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


When teenagers are ‘hung-over’ they are experiencing a type of alcohol poisoning. They become dehydrated and as a result, feel sick, have headaches and become irritable.

Poor school performance

Teenagers who use alcohol may remember less of what they have learned. This has knock-on effects at school, especially around exam time. Alcohol use can be the result and cause of difficulties at school. It can also hinder the development of other skills, such as decision-making, personal and social skills.

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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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