Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia. Because of its popularity and link to social links and celebrations, people don't tend to think of it as a drug, or even realise that it can be harmful. Yet alcohol is the largest cause of drug-related deaths among Australia teenagers. (Youth Central website Victoria)
What is Binge Drinking?
The term "binge drinking" can mean different things to different people, but some common definitions are:
- Drinking so that you can deliberately get drunk
- Occasional and irregular bouts of heavy drinking
- Normally being a responsible drinker, but often overindulging
A survey of Australian secondary students in 2005 found that one in ten people between the age of 12 and 17 admitted to binge drinking, or drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol. For people between 16 and 17 the figure increased to one in five. That's six binge drinkers in every average school classroom (Youth Central website Victoria).
Binge Drinking: The Risks.
Regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol can damage your body, social life and relationships. You might think you're fine, but in fact you're not. And if you're under 18, the health risks are even more serious.
Some of the risks involved with binge drinking are:
- Having accidents
- Getting into fights or arguments
- Missing work, class or education
- Feeling depressed
- Passing out
- Loss of valuable and personal items like wallets, jewelery, phones and iPods
Some long- term risks of binge drinking include:
- Liver damage
- Stomach ulcers
- Sexual problems
- Weight problems
One of the most serious long-term risks of binge drinking is becoming dependent on alcohol, both physically and psychologically. When this happens you feel as though your body can't function without alcohol, and drinking can become more important than anything else in your life. This is what is called alcoholism.
Stay in Control
The best tip for staying healthy is to avoid alcohol, but if you choose to drink, there are some ways to avoid getting out of control and decrease the risks.
- Set yourself a limit on how much you will drink and stick to this target, have a friend be the designated person to remind you.
- Don't drink fast, take sips
- Remember that alcopops might look harmless and look like "lolly Water" but they are, and they still have the same effect
- Have one drink at a time
- Stay active - do other activities besides drinking such as dancing, talking with mates, exercise, walking, playing games watching DVD's.
- Have lots of water while you are drinking alcohol
- Don't accept drinks from people you don't know
- Make sure you have at least two alcohol- free days a week
Drinking alcohol responsibly doesn't mean that you have to give up drinking alcohol altogether. It does mean being aware of the risks involved in such a socially supportive and tempting environment, and make decisions that will keep you happy and healthy.
Last Updated: June 2012