Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is “drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk”. Because everybody is different, it is not easy to say exactly how many units in one session count as binge drinking. Of course, people may drink at different speeds or drink over a different amount of time and this definition may not apply to everyone.

What we can say is that the risks of short-term harms like accidents or injuries increase between two to five times from drinking five-seven units.3 This is equivalent to 2-3 pints of beer.


The sorts of things more likely to happen when people drink too much or too quickly on a single occasion include accidents resulting in injury, misjudging risky situations or losing self-control.


It is also practice of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a single session, usually defined as five or more drinks at one time for a man, or four or more drinks at one time for a woman.

About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 today is in the form of binge drinks.


Health Effects Of Binge Drinking

Acute intoxication, such as binge drinking and alcoholism, are known potent risk factors for suicide.  Binge drinking is also associated with an increased risk of unplanned sex, unprotected sex, unplanned pregnancies, and an increased risk of HIV infection. 10 percent of women and 19 percent of men have reported being assaulted as a result of alcohol.

Males who drink more than 35 units of alcohol per week report being physically hurt as a result of alcohol, and 15 percent report physically hurting others as a result of their drinking. Almost 16 percent of binge drinkers report being taken advantage of sexually, and 8 percent report taking advantage of another person sexually as a result of alcohol within a 1-year period.

Heavy drinkers cause approximately 183,000 rapes and sexual assaults, 197,000 robberies, 661,000 aggravated assaults, and 1.7 million simple assaults each year.  Binge drinking has been associated with high odds of divorce, spousal abuse, and poor job performance.

It causes adverse effects on the body including effects on blood homeostasis and its Circadian Variation, Cardiac Rhythm, Ischaemic Heart Disease, Blood Pressure, White Blood Cell Activity, Female Reproductive Hormone Levels as well as adverse effects on the Fetus.

There is also evidence from animal studies that binge drinking causes brain damage. Binge drinking has been associated with lower abdominal pain in women. Ketoacidosis can occur in individuals who chronically abuse alcohol and have a recent history of binge drinking. Alcohol affects brain development quite significantly especially during adolescence when the brain is still developing. The main lobes that are involved in decision making and complex thought processes are undergoing their final development phase during adolescence and binge drinking can negatively stunt the growth of these frontal lobes

When consumed by pregnant mothers, alcohol enters the bloodstream, passes through the placenta and enters the fetus (unborn child).

Alcohol can damage a fetus at any stage of pregnancy, but is most serious in the first few months. There is a risk of alcohol-related birth defects including growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, and damage to the brain and nervous system.

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