Skip to content
left end
left end
right end
Transition was good. Everyone was friendly, helpful and caring


Smoking & Alcohol


Going out with friends and drinking can be part of becoming more independent for some young people. It is important to recognise the effects that alcohol can have on you but also your condition.

We know that too much alcohol can have harmful effects on the body, such as the liver and brain, so it is useful to know how much is too much. In the UK the recommended maximum weekly amount is fourteen units for men and women. Information on how much 1 unit is can be found here.

A number of the medications that are used to treat arthritis can also have a harmful effect on the liver, such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine. Methotrexate is one of the commonest drugs that we use. If you take this it is really important to make sure that you avoid drinking excessively and to avoid 'binge' drinking.


The long-term harmful effects of smoking are known but it important to be aware of how it can also directly affect you if you have arthritis.

Smoking can increase the chances of a person initially developing arthritis and often the disease can be more severe in people who smoke. We also know that smoking can make certain arthritis treatments less effective.

If you do smoke and you need help to quit, you can seek further support and advice from your local GP. There is also help online here


Illegal drugs and 'legal highs' are widely available but can be extremely dangerous for any person. They often have addictive properties and can impact all aspects of a person's life and can lead to them spiralling out of control as result.

Some people consider certain drugs to be less harmful than others but they should all be considered unsafe. Cannabis is often used by people to treat chronic pain including pain related to arthritis. However, there is no clear medical evidence to support the use of cannabis in treating arthritis pain but there is now increasing concern about the negative impact that it can have on a young person's developing brain.

Friendly confidential advice is available here. If you want to hear from other young people about their own experiences then visit here too.