Under the Influence

Consequences of binge drinking are not always short lived. The excitement of one night out can have a series of ongoing and unintended repercussions as the examples opposite illustrate.

Sure, spontaneity is fun and exciting, but when it comes to drinking it is a good idea to have a plan for your night and stay in control. You have to ask yourself, is a big night really worth it? What if you lost your licence? What if you got a sexually transmitted disease or fell pregnant? How badly would your reputation be damaged if photos appeared of you in a drunken state?

To be the influence, you have to take responsibility for your own actions.

What is binge drinking?

Smashed, maggoted, off your face - everyone has their own name for it and binge drinking has been defined in a variety of ways. In general, it means drinking a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time, generally with the intention to get drunk. The amount of alcohol consumed before the effects show will vary between people depending on their sex, age, size and how much alcohol they are used to drinking. Nevertheless, the risks associated with binge drinking are the same for everyone.

What are the effects of the harmful consumption of alcohol?

Drinking to intoxication can put you in situations that might be embarrassing, regretful, and dangerous. Every time you drink to excess, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

The most common risks or harms associated with drinking too much that people think about are physical injuries from falling over, getting into a fight or being involved in a motor vehicle accident. But there are lots of less obvious harms such as damage to your reputation, strain on relationships, poor performance and loss of property such as your wallet or phone.

The harmful consumption of alcohol can result in a range of physical and mental health, social, safety and long term health issues.

Immediate risks

  • Injuries from violence — as a perpetrator, a victim, or a witness
  • Pedestrian and road accidents — death/severe injury
  • Trauma related admissions to hospital emergency departments
  • Alcohol poisoning;
  • Social and personal consequences — impact on families, work and social embarrassment
  • Loss of valuable items — phone or wallet
  • Having unprotected sex and placing yourself at greater risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and/or an unwanted pregnancy
  • Death — through drowning or falls

Long-term risks

  • Social problems, withdrawing from other interests due to drinking
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Brain damage, including the inability to learn and memory loss
  • Development of chronic disease, including some cancers and heart disease
  • Liver diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver
  • Physical and psychological dependence on alcohol