Gail Priddy (Deputy Director) gives expert video advice on: I'm under 18 but feel addicted to alcohol, what should I do?; What are the risks of underage drinking?; I think my school friends drink too much, what can I do? and more...
I'm under 18 but feel addicted to alcohol, what should I do?
You should get some help. In most boroughs, there are services for younger people drinking or misusing drugs. Look on the Internet or the yellow pages, or contact the local authority helpline and get an agency and chat with someone. It's completely confidential and you won't be judged, and you can work out where things are at and what you need to do about it.
What are the risks of underage drinking?
One thing to bear in mind with underage drinking is that your bodies haven't finished developing. There aren't the same amount of enzymes that break down alcohol as there are in adults. So there are increased health risks, and increased risk of overdose. We hear about children ending up in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) after having drunk a few bottles of cider with friends and that sort of thing. Risk taking behavior is becoming much more impetuous. Being involved with peers arguments, getting into trouble with police, truanting from school are typical examples. So there are a lot of things that we can think about, that kids become involved in anyway, that are exacerbated by alcohol misuse.
I think my school friends drink too much, what can I do?
If you think your school friends drinks too much, I think it would be worth getting talking, possibly to school counsellor. Think about ensuring that alcohol education is in a PHSE lesson if that happened. Thinking with your friends about doing something that doesn't involve alcohol, and perhaps talking to some of them about your concerns. You can seek advice from young people services wherever you live and see if that will help. But also it's about keeping yourself safe and looking after yourself.
If I drink regularly at a younger age am I more likely to become addicted to alcohol?
Yes, I think the longer that you drink the more problems you are going to get. If you're starting earlier, you are actually putting yourself at risk of quite a lot of problems as the years go on.
Where do I go to for support as an underage drinker?
You can perhaps talk to an adult that you feel you can trust, and that may be a school counselor or youth worker. In most boroughs there are services for young people who have alcohol problems or alcohol and drugs problems. You can find them by looking on the internet, checking the yellow pages or the local authority website. You can go there and get confidential advice and support and some help to make the changes you need.