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Your Health: Binge Drinking

What is binge drinking?

If I was to say ‘binge drinking’ to you, what picture would it paint? Young people staggering out of pubs of a weekend? Stag nights and hen parties? The club scene in Ibiza? Perhaps, but the Office for National Statistics  defines binge drinking as exceeding 8 units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking day for men, and for females, exceeding 6 units on their heaviest drinking day. Shockingly, 6 units equates to two large glasses of wine! Government guidelines now recommend individuals not regularly exceed 14 units of alcohol per week and that these units should be spread over three or more days. 

You don’t have to drink every day to binge drink. Even if you only drink now and again but drink over the recommended amount, drink quickly or drink to get drunk, you are a binge drinker. If you start drinking and you find it hard to stop, then you may have a problem with alcohol dependence and it would be good to talk to your GP for help.

Why not drink too much?

Even if you are the type of person that can “hold their drink“, damage is being done. If you regularly drink over the recommended units you are more at risk of mouth, neck and throat cancer, for women breast cancer, for both men and women liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure, diabetes and a whole host of other problems. The more units a week you drink over the recommended numbers, the higher the risk of the diseases described above. Consuming high amounts of alcohol well beyond the recommended amounts a week also increases the likelihood of an irregular heartbeat. 

Our body can only process one unit of alcohol per hour, so it is recommended to drink slower, alternate drinks with water and drink with food rather than binge drinking 

So, if you like a drink at home when chilling, consider less alcohol spread over more days with some days off and if you go out, it’s not all doom and gloom! You can still have a great evening whilst staying drink smart!  Enjoy your night out!

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