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Martin Preston, the founder and chief executive at Delamere – a rehab retreat – specified what exactly constitutes binge drinking. “Binge drinking does not necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic,” Preston clarified. “But, those who are dependent on alcohol may engage in nights of drinking more regularly, and this can have dangerous consequences for our health.”
Preston added: “For men, [binge drinking] is defined as drinking five or more drinks in the space of a few hours.
“For women, it is defined as consuming four or more drinks in two hours.”
Alcohol can affect the brain, stomach, liver, heart, and the kidneys, but in which ways?
Preston explained: “When you drink alcohol, it goes straight into your bloodstream and is carried to the brain.”
Consequently, vision can blur, co-ordination decreases, and memory is impaired.
“Binge drinking can also cause people to black out,” Preston cautioned. “This is because the increase in the amount of alcohol in your brain can mean that you stop forming new memories.
“The risk of blacking out also becomes further heightened when a person binge drinks without eating anything first.”
As for the stomach, large volumes of alcohol can affect the gastrointestinal system.
Not only does alcohol cause damage to the stomach lining, but it can “manifest itself in abdominal pain or even chest pain”.
Binge drinking can also cause vomiting, which then runs the risk of tearing the oesophagus, which can lead to a “life-threatening” bleed.
Preston added that drinking alcohol can lead to a build-up of dangerous fat in the liver, which may lead to liver disease.
Furthermore, binge drinking can lead to heart palpitations, and in the long term, drinking alcohol excessively can lead to a weak heart and high blood pressure.
“Just like the liver, the kidneys are designed to filter out any waste or unneeded fluid in the body,” said Preston.
“But binge drinking, even once, can get in the way of what they are supposed to do.”
Preston elaborated: “Alcohol stops certain hormones from being produced that will help your kidneys put water back into your body.
“When alcohol suppresses hormones it can cause dehydration which may contribute to how bad a hangover you have the next day.”
To keep health risks from alcohol to a minimum, people are advised to drink no more than 14 units per week.
Fourteen units are equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine.
“If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week,” the NHS noted.
If you would like support to cut down on how much alcohol you are drinking, do book an appointment with your doctor.
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