Imagine this – a 25 year old who loves to go drinking with friends a couple of times in a month. Although not a regular drinker, by his own confession, whenever he and his friends go drinking, they wake up with a terrible hangover the next day and that are an indication that the previous night was all about binge drinking.
If you look around or retrospect your own experiences, this guy is one in many to indulge in binge drinking. We all have done it at a certain point in our lives. Although today’s generation has become extremely health conscious, thanks to content highlighting the importance of ensuring one’s health, the availability of different kinds of health monitoring products and supplements, increase in the general awareness about health care insurance etc. However, our sensibilities hit a road block when presented with a drinking opportunity.
A well-known fact is that long term consumption of alcohol has severe health implications, but a lesser known fact is that occasional binge drinking can be equally dangerous.
What is binge drinking?
Before we answer this question, it is important to know about the recommended alcohol limit for both men and women. As per the current guidelines, more than 2 drinks for men and more than 1 drink per day for women amounts to drinking above the recommended limit. According to NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), federal website of the US government, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or more. This pattern of drinking usually corresponds to 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours”. If you do the math then it’s almost twice and three times the recommended amount of alcohol consumption for both men and women, respectively.
What are the hazards of Binge drinking?
According to a group of researchers in the US, a single alcohol binge can cause bacteria to leak from the gut and increase levels of bacterial toxins in the blood. Furthermore, the researchers also emphasize that a single alcohol binge can elicit an immune response, potentially impacting the health of an otherwise healthy individual. Besides obvious health implications, binge drinking is also associated with risks such as motor vehicle accident, accident due to a fall, etc. Sometimes, individuals who are heavily drunk may indulge in risky social behavior such as having unprotected sex or engaging in brawl and vandalism.
How to drink responsibly?
Drinking is a very widely accepted social phenomenon. Most parties and celebrations are incomplete without an alcoholic beverage. In fact, in some countries, drinking is part of tradition & culture, and is regarded rude to refuse a drink offered by an elder. Whatever maybe your reason to drink, one must not forget to drink responsibly. Here are few tips on responsible drinking:
- Learn to pace yourself. Do not drink too fast; enjoy the taste of your beverage, chit chat with friends and take a sip or two in between
- Keeping drinking water or any other form of carbonated drink to dilute the effect of alcohol
- Never drink on an empty stomach. Snack in between or eat your dinner before you decide to go drinking
- Avoid bottoms ups, as the alcohol can hit hard
- Never go drinking alone, its best to go drinking in company of trusted people
- Know your limit and try not to overdo.
- Don’t be bogged down by peer pressure. If you are not up for drinking, learn to say NO.
- Never drive if drunk beyond your wits
Despite being aware about the ill-effects of binge drinking, we take the liberty to drink beyond the recommended limit. If such a thing happens, make sure you know how to treat your hangover. A good way to prevent hangover is to drink natural hangover medication, which can be consumed just before going to bed. You can buy hangover medication from any medical shop. However, avoid handover medication that contains acetaminophen, as it known to cause liver damage.