Alcohol and drugs

Drinking alcohol

You can still drink alcohol with type 1 diabetes. But drinking alcohol may cause you to have a hypo, even for as long as 24 hours later.

Alcohol can make you less aware of your hypo symptoms. Talk to your diabetes team about how to drink alcohol safely.

You may need to adjust your insulin doses. Discuss with your team and be prepared.

If you are going to drink alcohol:

Do

  • Carry your glucose meter and a hypo treatment with you

  • Try to eat a meal with carbohydrate (like rice / pasta / pizza) before you drink

  • Make sure your friends know how to recognize and treat a hypo – a hypo can look like you're drunk

  • Choose diet soft drink mixers where possible

  • Check your blood glucose regularly, particularly if you're dancing

  • Check your blood glucose before you go to bed the next day

  • Eat something extra if your blood glucose is normal or low

  • Check your blood glucose regularly the next day - a hypo feels similar to a hangover

  • Drink plenty of water the next day

Don't

  • Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach

  • Do not ignore the signs of a hypo - test and treat it immediately

Important

Check your blood glucose regularly while you are drinking and before you go to sleep.

Diabetes Ireland has more information on drinking alcohol with diabetes

Drugs and diabetes

You're advised not to use recreational drugs at all. If you do use them, speak to your diabetes team about the best ways to stay safe and manage your diabetes.

Drugs also affect your blood glucose levels. Their effect on you might mean you're not able to manage your blood glucose as normal.

If drugs make you feel spaced out or lose track of time, you might forget to take your insulin. Some drugs make you lose your appetite and move around more, which can lead to a hypo. Others slow you down and can make you eat more or feel really low the next day, so you might not manage your blood glucose as well.

Make sure someone you're with knows about your diabetes and how to recognise and treat a hypo.

The JDRF charity has more information about diabetes and recreational drugs.