Drinking too much

It's normal to experiment with alcohol, and easy to drink too much. There are long and short-term effects of drinking too much, and it can mess with your life. Sometimes you make decisions that you wouldn't normally make if you were sober. You can get help managing drinking problems.

This can help if: 

  • You or someone you know drinks a lot 
  • You want to know what happens when you drink too much 
  • You want help with drinking

Effects of drinking too much

Sometimes it can be easy to push your body to its limit when drinking alcohol. It’s important to keep in mind ways you can stay safe while drinking and also be aware of the damage that can be caused by drinking too much.You’ll certainly know afterwards if you’ve drunk too much. You could: 

  • Feel sick, shaky or the need to vomit 
  • Not remember things that happened when you were drunk 
  • Have injured yourself or someone else 
Drinking too much over a long period of time also has long-term effects. You could risk:

  • Having serious brain and liver damage  
  • Being more likely to get cancers in your digestive system 
  • Being at risk of brain and heart problems  
  • Having difficulty with sexual performance
  • Develop emotional and mental problems like depression and anxiety  
  • Having work, family or school trouble

Drunk decisions

One result of drinking too much can be making decisions you wouldn’t make if you were sober. Some things that can happen when you drink too much include the possibility of: 

  • Having unprotected sex 
  • Acting in a way that makes you embarrassed or ashamed later  
  • Losing friends due to your behaviour while drunk 
  • Spending money on alcohol you can't afford 
  • Putting yourself or others in danger

Life stuff

Drinking too much can affect other parts of your life. People who drink too much can: 

  • Get into trouble with work or study 
  • Feel edgy unless they have a drink 
  • Drink more than they intend do 
  • Be hung-over most mornings

Getting it right

You can get help managing or dealing with drinking. Sometimes you'll crave it if you're trying to drink less, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don't get there straight away. 

You can find out more about standard drinks and how to monitor your intake in our 'What is alcohol' fact sheet, as well as getting tips on how to drink responsibly.

If you think it could do you some good to have a break from drinking alcohol for a while, you might consider taking some time off with the help of Hello Sunday Morning. They're a service that allows people to change their relationship with alcohol, and their drinking patterns.

Having someone you can talk to can also help. A mate, family member, doctor, nurse or counsellor are all good options. If you’re finding it really hard to cut down on your drinking, read more on having a drinking problem to work out what to do.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 09 May, 2016
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