This guide offers helpful information and advice on the drug-related issues that you can face during your teenage years. We take a look at the effects of alcohol, drugs and smoking, and offer information and advice on how to tackle some of these issues.
Alcohol: what does being drunk do to you?
Alcohol poisoning is particularly common in teenagers and can be very serious.
Getting drunk at parties is something that most teenagers do. It is really easy to see the effect that alcohol has on your body and your brain; it gives you more confidence and releases some of your self control. If you are drunk, you are more likely to put yourself in a risky position, get into a fight or have unprotected sex.
Anyone who has ever suffered a hangover knows that the effects of alcohol aren't all good. The day after drinking too much, your head can pound and you’ll probably feel sick, tired and generally unwell. Hangovers are associated with dehydration – always drink plenty of water when drinking alcohol and before you go to bed.
Alcohol also has a lot of negative effects on your body and can cause sleeplessness, weight gain and high blood pressure. If you binge drink it can have some very serious health issues such as liver damage or stomach ulcers.
Whilst a lot of these effects are the result of long-term alcohol use, this is by no means true of all of them. Alcohol poisoning is particularly common in teenagers, and can be very serious – in some cases leading to coma or death. Usually resulting from drinking a lot of alcohol in one night, its symptoms include clammy skin, breathing problems and falling unconscious. If this happens to any of your friends, make sure to put them in the recovery position and call 999.
Most teenagers go through a phase of drinking and drinking in moderation isn’t the worry but for some it becomes an addiction. Alcohol interferes with the absorption of nutrients, especially many vital vitamins your body and skin needs. Alcohol is also known to increase blood levels of oestrogen and cause damage to the DNA.
Smoking facts for teenagers
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in existence.
Everyone knows the stories about how bad smoking is for you, yet there are still about 10 million smokers in the UK. A lot of these people – two-thirds – took up smoking in their teens and have smoked ever since. Statistics clearly shows that fifty percent of all regular smokers eventually die of this bad habit, and more than a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK are related to smoking,
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in existence so it’s not surprising that quitting can be very difficult.
Breaking the addiction to nicotine doesn’t come without side effects. Irritability, anger, anxiety and depression are related to the physical withdrawal symptoms, but persevere as they won’t last for long. The psychological aspects of the addiction are more tricky, as smokers tend to light a cigarette in certain situations, e.g. when drinking alcohol, having a cup of coffee, before or after a meal, going to the bathroom etc.
Smoking has a very negative effect on your heart as well as your skin. Smoking reduces blood flow to your heart and your skin. Heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol is associated with tobacco smoking and smoking also causes accelerated wrinkling. A 40-year-old smoker will have about as many wrinkles as a 60-year-old non-smoker. It also gives your nails and skin a yellow appearance and can lead to early hair loss.
Effects of cannabis on teenagers
Cannabis is probably the most common illegal drug used by teens. Cannabis makes you feel relaxed and can make you feel more of a connection to music. You may also feel light headed. It is often thought of as a less dangerous drug than some of the others, like ecstasy or heroin, as it doesn't feel like it has such an extreme effect on the body.
However, it does have its own dangers and that is why it is illegal. Currently classified as a Class B drug, you face up to 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine if you are caught with cannabis in your possession and up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine if you sell it to others.
For some reason it has a bit of a reputation as a relatively harmless drug, but both short-term and long-term use can have a serious effect on you.
Smoking cannabis carries all of negative effects of cigarettes including cancers, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, accelerated wrinkling, yellow nails and thinning hair.
Cannabis can also have a serious effect on your brain causing memory loss, low motivation, anxiety or panic attacks. Some teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cannabis and even just one use can cause serious psychological effects.
How does ecstasy affect you?
The after effects of taking ecstasy include anxiety, sleep problems and mild depression.
Ecstasy or MDMA is most commonly used on the rave and clubbing scenes because its effects include an increase in energy, a feeling of inner peace, a sense of intimacy with others and general euphoria, often enhanced by listening to music with a heavy drum and bass line.
However, ecstasy is classified as a class A drug in the UK (the most serious class of drug), which means that you face up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine if you are caught with it, or a life in prison and/or an unlimited fine if you are caught selling it to others.
Ecstasy can have some negative effects on your body. It causes an increased heart rate and blood pressure, it also causes teeth clenching and muscle spasms. More seriously some people can suffer seizures.
Ecstasy can also cause an acne-like rash. If this happens you must stop taking ecstasy as it seems to be a precursor to liver damage.
There have been a number of high profile deaths by users of ecstasy. These deaths have normally happened because the drug makes it harder to detect how hot or dehydrated you are. People may dance in very hot, crowded venues for hours on end and get so hot or dehydrated that their body can’t take any more. The other danger is overcompensation; the person is aware of the risk of dehydration and ends up drinking far too much water. Sadly, this can sometimes result in fatal water intoxication.
The facts about 'legal highs'
In recent years legal highs have hit the headlines time and again with tragic outcomes for young people. The law is always a little behind new drugs as they are created, so whilst a certain drug may be legal at the moment, that doesn't mean that it is safe to use.
Although legal highs may seem like a harmless way of having fun without breaking the law, they may contain chemicals that have not have been tested for human consumption - and who knows what effect they could have.
Perhaps think of it like this: would you be happy to eat something that may or may not be deadly poisonous?
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Oy! is all about embracing a healthy lifestyle that looks after your body as well as your skin. We hope you have found this guide useful. If you would like more information about our organic teenage skin care range, please call us on 01403 740350 or leave a comment or question below.