Binge drinking. What’s the harm?

Binge drinking. What’s the harm?

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According to the World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health (2014), the rate of binge drinking in Ireland is second in the entire WHO European Region.(1) While binge drinking is often normalised in Irish society, it is associated with severe risks to the person drinking and others around them. It’s important to get the facts about alcohol so you can make informed decisions about your drinking.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking is the term used to describe the consumption of six or more standard drinks (a standard drink is a half pint of beer, small glass of wine or pub measure of spirits). The 2015 Healthy Ireland survey showed that almost 4 in 10 drinkers binge drink on a typical drinking occasion, with over 24% doing so at least once a week.(2)

So often alcohol is consumed at this level without realising the full extent of the physical and mental health risks associated with it. Regularly binge drinking is particularly dangerous to your health and is associated with an increased risk of a range of serious short and long-term effects including

  • Accidents, injuries or violence
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach disease
  • One of seven different cancers

Find out more about the effects of alcohol

Reduce your risk

The Department of Health/HSE recommended low-risk guidelines are there to help you keep track of your drinking and reduce your risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm:

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Find out more about the low-risk guidelines

World Health Organisation (2014) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health

Healthy Ireland Survey 2015, Ipsos MRBI. Commissioned by the Department of Health.