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. 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 in one sitting. Common examples of one standard drink include a half pint of beer, small glass of wine (100ml) or pub measure of spirits (35.5%). 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.

So often alcohol is consumed at this level without realising the full extent of the impact this could be having on health and wellbeing. 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
  • Cancers

Read more about the effects of alcohol

Reduce your risk

The HSE 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

Try our Drinks Calculator to find out if you are drinking within the guidelines