The public perception of alcohol consumption at university would have you believe that most students drink excessively which is just not the case. The NUS Alcohol Impact 2019 study found that whilst 53% of young people thought students got drunk most of the time however the research also found 45% of student drank alcohol less than once a week (6% had never drunk alcohol and 10% didn't drink at all now)
But whether you are teetotal, a fan of the occasional spritzer, or do enjoy alcohol regularly: it’s important to know the facts so that you make informed choices!
The drinkaware website has some advice and information to encourage more healthy drinking practices. They even have tips on how to beat hangovers (just in case...). You can also speak to your GP if you are concerned about your alcohol intake.
The NHS has information and support online if you're concerned about your drinking habits or you can find support if you're worried about the harm caused by alcohol on Alcohol Change.
The low risk drinking guidelines
Of course, the lowest risk amount of alcohol to drink is none at all but the Chief Medical Officers also sets out what is considered a low level of alcohol consumption to avoid health risks.
For everyone this is considered to be 14 units.
How much a “unit” is depends on what you’re drinking, but some general rules are:
Drinking more than 6 units in one go if you are a woman and more than 8 units if you are a man poses a much bigger risk to your health. There is no exact definition for binge drinking that applies to everyone as tolerances to alcohol varies. The NHS Say:
Drinking too much, too quickly on a single occasion can increase your risk of:
- accidents resulting in injury, causing death in some cases
- misjudging risky situations
- losing self-control, like having unprotected sex [source]
Studies have shown that those who drink a lot in their teens and early 20s are up to twice as likely to be binge drinking 25 years later.
If you want to track the units of alcohol you consume, you can download the free drinkaware app here. You can also use their online unit and calorie calculator here.
Some problems with binge drinking:
- Heightened emotions – even the most trivial event or problem can become a massive problem when you’re drunk: cue arguments/tears in the toilets/telling strangers you love them/starting fights
- Your body doesn’t like it – being sick or incontinent (or worse...) is just not nice
- Loss of inhibitions – if this leads to your behaving in a way you wouldn’t normally, you’ll regret it in the morning