Binge drinking is when you drink heavily over a short period of time. When you binge drink the amount you drink is enough to get drunk. The amount will depend on you but for adults, a rough idea of the amount is about 6 units for women and 8 units for men at any one time.
Binge drinking can seriously damage your health because your body cannot get rid of the amount of alcohol you are drinking quickly enough. Sometimes you can get alcohol poisoning, unconsciousness and brain injury.
So is it harmful to get drunk every now and then?
Well, if you have been drunk, you might know some of the consequences.
These are some of the things that can happen:
- Getting into a fight.
- Having an accident: If you hurt yourself that is up to you, but if you end up hurting someone else that's not fair. DON'T drink and drive.
- Beer goggles: everyone suddenly seems really good looking and sometimes you can end up having sex with someone who you didn't really fancy. In the heat of the moment and the blur of alcohol, condoms are often the last thing on your mind so watch out for STI’s and pregnancy.
- Getting into trouble with the police.
- Hangovers: The next day never feels so good. Check out our tips for dealing with them below.
- Getting depressed: If you get drunk when you are feeling low or sad, alcohol can make you feel much worse.
If your binge drinking starts happening regularly and not every now and then, you can get hooked and you will start to suffer from the long term effects of alcohol.
Some people believe that binge drinking might also increase the risk to your heart (even if you do not drink lots in between for periods of time). Scientists are looking into this.
Hangovers: a few top tips
- Drink plenty of water before you go to bed and the next morning. Your head feels heavy and you have a headache because you are dehydrated.
- Eat plenty. Alcohol makes your blood sugar low so get some energy in with a good breakfast. Eating before you drink helps too.
- Don't have a drink in the morning. This just delays what is coming to you. It doesn't make it better.
- Take a break before you have your next drink. It takes a while for your body to get rid of the toxins so it’s not a good idea to drink again soon.
What to do if someone is drunk and unconscious
- Stay calm
- Try to see if they are breathing: look to see if their chest is moving up and down
- Open the airway: Try and make sure there is nothing blocking their mouth. Don't put your fingers down their throat. Getting them into the recovery position is best.
- Call for an ambulance
- Keep them warm
Drinking and driving
The most important thing to know about drinking and driving is NOT TO DO IT.
If you get stopped by the police and breathalysed (testing your breath to see how much alcohol you have drunk), there is a legal limit to how much alcohol you are allowed in your system. The bottom line is that it is very difficult to predict how much you have in your system for all the reasons given before.
Even at low doses, alcohol impairs your judgement and reaction time so it is NEVER a good idea to drink anything alcoholic if you are driving.
Drinking and driving kills people and ruins peoples lives!