Young people are drinking more now than they used to. Studies have shown that young people are drinking more per drinking session and having more sessions per week than they did ten years ago.
Drinking in moderation is an enjoyable and usually harmless feature of life. However getting drunk regularly can have potentially serious physical, and social effects. Even drinking to excess just occasionally can be damaging.
In the short term, drinking too much can put you at immediate risk of serious situations ranging from date rape to car crashes. If you’re drunk, you’re also more likely to be a victim of violence or to have unprotected sex, which carries all the associated risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.
In the longer-term, regularly drinking too much can cause liver disease, an increased risk of heart attack, weight gain and a number of different cancers. Such problems are now occurring at younger ages as alcohol use has increased.
The healthy choice in the short-term is to take just a little extra care to protect yourself and your friends when you are going out drinking (for instance, know your own limits and make sure you know how to get home safely). If you have had a heavy drinking session, you should remain alcohol-free for a full 48 hours to give your body tissues time to recover.
In the longer-term, you do need to have an idea how much you're drinking on a regular basis, in units of alcohol, so you can keep your risks low. The NHS recommends:
Men should not regularly drink more than three to four units a day.
Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day.
The effects of binge drinking
A drink-by-drink guide to the effects of alcohol on your mind and body.
One medium drink (around two units):
Two medium drinks (four units):
Three medium drinks (six units):
Four medium drinks (eight units):
Five medium drinks (10 units):
Six medium drinks (12 units):
Eight medium drinks (16 units):
Nine to 10 medium drinks and more (18 units+):