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Your Body On... Alcohol

You might think just one drink can’t hurt, but even a little bit of alcohol can do a whole lot of harm.

The good news? You landed that invite to your classmate’s holiday party. The bad news? It went from chill to “chug!” in a matter of minutes . . . and now someone is offering you a drink. Before you accept, think about the ways alcohol affects your mind, body, and mood. (Spoiler alert: None of them are good.) Just a few examples: Alcohol slows reaction times, impairs your ability to make good decisions, and increases your chances of throwing up on your shoes by one zillion percent. And you should already know that drinking and driving, or taking a ride from someone who’s been drinking, are things you should never do. Read on to find out why even one drink is one drink too many:

Eyes

Alcohol affects your optic nerves, which can give you double vision or make things look blurry. If you can’t see clearly, you’re more prone to falls, and could get seriously hurt.

Brain

Alcohol slows the signals between your brain and your reflexes, making it hard for you to react quickly, which is why it’s never safe to drive if you’ve been drinking. It also affects your ability to control your impulses, which can cause you to make bad decisions and put yourself in danger.

Stomach

Alcohol makes your stomach produce excess acid. When you get too much acid in your stomach, your body tries to get rid of it by throwing up. Not only does this feel terrible, it’s also very dangerous, because you can suffocate if vomit gets trapped in your airway, especially if you’re unconscious.

Heart and Lungs

Alcohol initially causes your heart rate to rise before plummeting to potentially dangerous low levels. If your heart rate drops too low, you can become unconscious and even die.

Liver

Your liver breaks down the alcohol in your bloodstream. Too much alcohol in your blood can overwhelm your liver and cause alcohol poisoning, a dangerous condition that can result in death.

Appoint a Safety Superhero

If you’re around alcohol, the most important thing is getting home safely. Ask a parent or trusted adult to agree to pick you up, no questions asked. In return, promise to call them instead of drinking and driving or riding with a driver who’s been drinking.

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