Alcohol may play a role in your student life, but is it playing too big a role? There are healthy limits to enjoy a few drinks in your social life but keep in mind that alcohol is a drug and like all drugs can have negative consequences.
Drinking: the facts
as well as academic failure, relationship problems, debt, violence, breaking the law, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
2. Alcohol is full of extra fattening calories…
Did you know that:
- a pint of bitter = a medium slice of pizza
- an alcopop = 100g of cookies
- gin or vodka with tonic = 126 calories
- dark rum and coke = 142 cal
- medium glass of white wine (175ml) = 120 cal
- a bottle of white wine = 555 cal
- a bottle of red wine = 510 cal
- a pint of 5% lager = 240-250 cal
- a pint of cider = 180-250 cal
- mixed drink (ready to drink 275 ml bottle) = 160-228 cal.
3. Alcohol can seriously affect your sex life…
Men may suffer from temporary impotence (“brewer’s droop”) after drinking while long-term heavy drinkers might also be subjected to:
- loss of libido and impotence
- shrinking of the testicles
- reduction in penis size
- reduction in sperm production
- loss of pubic and body hair
- enlargement of the breasts (as a complication of cirrhosis)
4. Short-term risks…
Whilst initially feeling warm and more relaxed, too much alcohol in the short term can cause disinhibition, doing something embarrassing, getting upset, doing or saying things you may regret, hangover, impotence, accidents, fights, vomiting, ending up unconscious or in the Emergency Department. People still die from falling unconscious and inhaling their own vomit.
5. Medium-term risks…
Sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, difficulties in exams, at work and in relationships.
6. Long-term risks…
Liver damage, withdrawal syndrome (shakes, anxiety, sweats, craving) brain shrinkage, testicle shrinkage, growing breasts (men), diarrhoea, gastritis, pancreatitis and encephalopathy.
How much do you drink?
How can you tell if you’re a binge drinker?
Even if you don’t drink alcohol every day, you could be a binge drinker if you regularly drink:
1. To get drunk
2. More than the recommended daily guidelines in a single session
If you find it hard to stop drinking once you have started, you could also have a problem with binge drinking and possibly alcohol dependence.
How can I tell if I have a drinking problem?
- You, or someone you know, could have a problem if:
- You get drunk regularly
- You can’t stop once you’ve started
- You’re drinking more than before
- You’re losing interest in other things because of drink
- You’re drinking alone
- You’re making excuses to drink
- You’re letting people down as a result of drinking
- You smell of alcohol during the day
- You feel guilty about drinking
- You get the shakes in the morning
Safe drinking levels:
Men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day.
Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day.
“Regularly” means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week.
You may be surprised. A large glass of wine, for instance, contains around three units. Over an evening, that can quickly add up to much more than you intended to drink. Here are some examples:
- a can of standard lager, beer or bitter – 1.8 units
- a pint of standard lager, beer or bitter – 2.3 units
- a small glass of wine (125ml) – 1.5 units
- a large glass of wine (250ml) – 3 units
- a measure of spirits (25ml) – 1 unit
How to cut down on drinking
Drink something weaker and don’t drink in ‘rounds’
Start drinking later and go out with less cash
Avoid going to the places you drink most
Start with a soft drink, and alternate alcoholic and soft drinks
Keep yourself busy, don’t fall into drinking routines
Start some different activities
Eat before you go out to drink
For more tips go to the NHS website.
Check out the features, tips and advice on moderate drinking on the ‘Why let good times go bad?’ section of the Drink Aware website or find out what type of drunk you are using the Facebook app.