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Taking Care of You

Whether it’s about emotional, mental, or physical health—how you take care of yourself is a personal journey. Knowing how alcohol influences your mood, mind, and body can help you make the best decisions about your wellbeing.

girl sitting at a computer

In a Mood

Who doesn’t want to spend their days smiling? Feeling good and laughing with friends? When it comes to your emotions and social life, alcohol can change the game—not in a good way. In fact, people who drink are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression. 

Living with social anxiety? That can make the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder—sometimes called a “drinking problem” or substance use disorder—four times more likely.  

Nothing (especially drinking) should come in between you and the things you love—whether it’s dancing, reading, or gaming. Yet, alcohol can lower your motivation and leave your personal and academic success stuck on the sidelines.

group of people near a body of water

What to Know About Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disease.

It affects your mood, emotional wellness, and sense of control.           

You’re not alone. If you need support, there’s always someone ready to help you at the Washington Recovery Help Line.

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On Your Mind

Don’t be fooled—seeing may not always be believing. Some risks of drinking are harder to spot than others. Your grades may be affected now but impacts your brain development and function may not be that obvious.

Studies suggest heavy alcohol use can harm your ability to remember and process information, as well as pay attention—which is a big deal when it comes to college. 

And there’s a good chance nursing a hangover will lead to staying in bed over hitting the library. Students who use substances during college spend less time studying and more time skipping classes—which probably isn’t the best route to an on-time graduation. 

Students who use alcohol and drugs are more likely to have disruptions in their college enrollment and may fail to graduate.

man running outside

For Your Body

This is the time to face the world with confidence. Maybe that will make it harder to notice some of the obvious effects that alcohol has on your body. Drinking now can leave future you feeling the long-term effects on your skin, weight, heart, and liver.

Over time, drinking can lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, alcoholic hepatitis, a swollen pancreas, and even some types of cancer. 

Binge drinking makes those issues next-level bad and increases the possibility of alcohol poisoning—which you should know how to spot. Because if you see the signs, someone can need immediate medical attention. 

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Slowed breathing
  • Seizures
  • Cold or clammy skin

The Washington Poison Center can also help with free, confidential advice and assistance. Call them at 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website. If it’s an immediate emergency, please call 911 or go to an emergency room.

Worried about getting in trouble if you call for help? Don’t be. Washington State's "911 Good Samaritan Law" can protect you from punishment so you and your friends can get the help needed. 

Chronic alcohol abuse has also been linked to cirrhosis, which is late-stage liver damage that can cause the organ to shut down. While it’s typically been more common among an older population, national cirrhosis deaths among 25- to 34-year-olds tripled between 1999 and 2016. 

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