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What does alcohol have in common with other drugs?

  • Short-term high – getting a buzz

People usually take drugs because they like the effect they have on their body or mind. Alcohol, like most drugs, can make us feel good when we take it.

At low levels alcohol can give a feeling of happiness, relaxation and confidence. Read more about alcohol and feelings.

  • Overdoing it makes us ill

Alcohol is like many other drugs – if we take too much, it makes us ill. Whether it be vomiting, passing out or the hangover from hell, most drinkers have felt the effects of taking too much alcohol.

In large quantities alcohol can shut down the body’s systems and lead to unconsciousness and even death.  Find out what happens to your body as your alcohol level rises.

  • It can cause health problems

Drugs like alcohol are powerful substances that have a big impact on our bodies. Over a period of time alcohol can damage the body or cause harmful side-effects. Find out more about alcohol and your health

  • Dependence can happen

Some people find it hard to manage without the drug or its effects. Sometimes dependence happens quickly, or it may develop over time. Around 150,000 people in Ireland are dependent drinkers.1

Find out more about dependence.

  • The drug has effects on other people, families and society

Harmful drinking doesn’t just affect the person doing the drinking. It causes problems for people around them, including family members, friends, work colleagues and wider society. Read more about alcohol's effects on families and the costs to society

Read more

What is alcohol?

Why does alcohol affect people differently?

What happens when we get drunk?

Why does alcohol make me ill when I drink too much? Alcohol poisoning

1 Jean Long and Deirdre Mongan (2014) Alcohol consumption in Ireland 2013: An analysis of a national alcohol diary survey. HRB, Dublin.


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