The definition of binge drinking used by the NHS and National Office of Statistics is drinking more than double the lower risk guidelines for alcohol in one session.
Why is binge drinking riskier than drinking normally?
Two large glasses of wine may not seem like very much. But drinking six units of alcohol in a short space of time – an house, say – will raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and could make you drunk very quickly. Drinking the same amount over several hours, and accompanied by food, will not have the same effect on your BAC.
Affect your mood and memory – mostly anti-social and aggressive behavior.
Effects of binge drinking -
Accidents and falls
You could die – alcohol can stop you breathing or stop your heart
How can you tell if you're a binge drinker?
Tend to drink quickly
Regularly drink more than the lower risk guidelines in a single session
Sometimes drink to get drunk
Associations with drinking
Interviewees gave multiple motivations for drinking, with a particular focus on socialisation and fun. Furthermore, some of the downsides of drinking were seen to provide opportunities for social bonding, e.g. suffering together through a hangover. Current and former university students noted that excessive alcohol consumption in the first year was strongly influenced by the centrality of (excessive) alcohol to forming and maintaining social networks. This suggests that there may be a need counter heavy drinking and/or provide more alcohol-free activities in freshers week.
Although many young people had personal experiences of the downsides of drinking too much, they tended to downplay the health implications and to distance themselves and their peers from “problem” drinkers. In contrast, they expressed concern about how their own safety and pleasure were often hampered by others’ problematic drinking and/or antisocial behaviour.
Associations between alcohol consumption, peer pressure and concerns about image (i.e., being seen as “cool” rather than “boring”) were commonly experienced at younger ages. Interviewees in older age groups gave a clear sense of a learning curve. Part of this was about learning personal limits, so that they did not experience the negative consequences of over-indulgence. Many reported that they had managed to “grow out of” socially expected patterns of regular binge drinking, and that they now felt more comfortable with drinking at a personally-determined level. However, they tended to retain a concern about their image and reputation. These image and reputation concerns included shame at embarrassing or undignified behaviour (particularly among women). Another aspect of reputation concerns was wanting to avoid being a burden on friends when drunk and unable to look after oneself.
Government advice -
The governement advises that people should not regularly drink morethe lower risk guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units of alcohol for women (equicalent to a 175 ml glass of wine). 'Regular' means drinking everyday or most days.