What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is often in the news – especially when it involves young people or teenagers.

Drinking a lot of alcohol in one go can be dangerous in different ways – but it’s not just young people who need to be aware of the risks.

Drinking 5-7 units in a 3-6 hour period increases the risk of injury between two and five times.  

The weekly guidelines is to stick to 14 units or less per week – and to spread your drinking out over 3 days or more.

If you do the maths, that means sticking to a maximum of 4 and a half units or less on any single drinking occasion, no more than 3 times a week.

You can keep the risks low by:

  • limiting the total amount of alcohol you drink on any single occasion
  • drinking more slowly, drinking with food, and alternating with water
  • planning ahead to avoid problems e.g. by making sure you can get home safely or that you have people you trust with you

Drinking above this level increases the risk of intoxication as well as the risk of:

  • Having an accident resulting in injury, causing death in some cases
  • Misjudging risky situations
  • Losing self-control e.g. engaging in unprotected sex

You should be particularly careful if you are at risk of falls or on medication that may interact adversely with alcohol (check the label).

Some of the accidents that happen when people drink too much in one go include head injuries, fractures, facial injuries, scarring and alcohol poisoning.

Keep safe – stick to the guidelines





Ahn illustration guidelines

What about drinking at home?

Drinking more than the recommended levels at home is also dangerous - you are more susceptible to falls, fires, accidents and mishaps when drinking too much, even at home.

In addition, the health risks from binge drinking remain even when drinking at home - increasing the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.  

Use our Go Slow method to help moderate your drinking.

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