One of the greatest alcohol myths is that a binge on the weekend is okay as long as you don't drink in the week. Acutally, regular binge drinking is harmful to your heart and your mental health.
While the liver can cope with heavy bouts of drinking – and repairs itself quickly, there are other risks to binge drinking, such as loss of control, poor decision making, accidents, arguments and being the victim of a crime.
If you’re in unfamiliar surroundings you are also less able to look after yourself and make sound judgments. You can also just be physically ill if you drink too much and experience vomiting. So binge drinking on one or two days in the week is actually as harmful as drinking too much on a regular basis.
Drinking a lot of alcohol in one go can be dangerous in different ways - the main risks are injury to yourself and others - as well as mishaps, accidents and regret.
Intoxication can lead to misjudgement, lack of control and recklessness and if you are in a new or risky situation, you are less likely to protect yourself well if you've been binge drinking.
The weekly guidelines is to stick to 14 units or less per week – and to spread your drinking out over 3 days or more.
You can keep the risks low by:
• limiting the total amount of alcohol you drink on any single occasion
• drinking more slowly, drinking with food, and alternating with water
• planning ahead to avoid problems e.g. by making sure you can get home safely or that you have people you trust with you
Binge drinking can be particulalrly risky when you're with strangers, involved in a car journey (passenger or driver) or taking public transport.
What about drinking at home?
Drinking more than the recommended levels at home is also dangerous - you are more susceptible to falls, fires, accidents and mishaps when drinking too much, even at home.
In addition, the health risks from binge drinking remain even when drinking at home - increasing the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
The best way to approach drinking is to stick to roughly 2-3 drinks, 2-3 times a week - that way you should be safely within the 14 units guideline.