Binge drinking

‘Binge drinking’ usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time, or drinking to get drunk. Researchers commonly define binge drinking as consuming more than eight units of alcohol in a single session – that’s just over three pints of 4% strength beer.

Why binge drinking is harmful

Drinking too much, too quickly on a single occasion can increase your risk of:

  • accidents resulting in injury, causing death in some cases
  • misjudging risky situations
  • losing self-control, like having unprotected sex
  • leave you vulnerable and impair your ability to make decisions

Health risks
Drinking heavily can increase your risk of some health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and strokes. Alcohol is a contributing factor in up to 60 medical conditions, including several types of cancer.

To reduce your health risk from binge drinking, try to:

  • limit how much you drink on any single occasion
  • drink more slowly
  • drink with food
  • alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks
  • plan ahead to avoid problems, such as making sure you can get home safely or having people you trust with you