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Binge drinking is when you drink a lot of alcohol in one session. In Australia, it’s pretty normal to get drunk with your mates on the weekend, but it turns out that binge drinking can have really negative effects on your physical, mental and social health.

This can help if:

  • you want to know why binge drinking might not be a great idea
  • you want to know if you’re binge drinking
  • you want to know the difference between binge drinking and alcohol addiction.
Girls toasting beer bottles and plastic cups

What is binge drinking?

‘Binge drinking’ means drinking heavily on a single occasion, or drinking continuously over a number of days or weeks. You might also know this as ‘getting wasted’, ‘partying’, ‘going out’, etc.­­

Binge drinking means:

  • For men: drinking more than 6 drinks in one sitting.
  • For women: drinking more than 4 drinks in one sitting.

People who binge drink:

  • don’t necessarily drink every day
  • may not know their own limits
  • may not mean to drink a lot
  • might feel peer pressured to drink large amounts
  • might feel awkward in social situations when they aren’t drinking.

Why binge drinking is bad for you

Binge drinking, even one night a week, can have some pretty nasty consequences.

Short-term effects include:

  • hangovers (bad ones)
  • nausea while drinking and the next day
  • shakes
  • vomiting
  • memory loss
  • injury.

Other potential risks include:

  • problems with self-esteem
  • feeling regretful all the time
  • getting involved with unsafe activities
  • having unprotected sex.

Alcohol is also a major cause of injury and death among young people. When you’re drunk, you’re more likely to put yourself in risky situations, such as getting into a car with a driver who’s been drinking, or ending up in a physical fight.

Long-term effects include:

  • problems at school, at work and with relationships
  • risk of emotional and mental health problems developing, such as depression and anxiety
  • physical and psychological dependence on alcohol
  • significant damage to the brain and liver
  • risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breasts
  • possible increased risk of neurological disorders or heart problems
  • sexual problems (especially male impotency).