Binge drinking can increase risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. It can affect your ability to plan, pay attention, make decisions, process emotions and control impulses. It also increases your risk of accident, injury and becoming the victim of violence – but research now shows that it also is one of the gateways to full blown alcoholism.
One of the problems currently facing not only Australians but most countries around the world is the entrenched culture of binge drinking that exists. This culture of binge drinking is making it increasingly harder to recognise when we ourselves have had one too many. And it doesn’t take much to binge drink, just pouring a glass of wine that is double the “standard drink” a few times an evening constitutes binge drinking.
It may surprise some people to realise that binge drinking is defined by the National Health and Medical Research Council as having four standard drinks in one night. To some people 4 standard drinks may seem like a reasonable amount but its binge drinking.
When we think of a binge drinker we never imagine ourselves, we always think of some other person always in the bar, causing a scene. But binge drinking is more common than most people think and has become an “acceptable” practice in Oz,that is why we need to enforce responsible service of alcohol laws more vehemently than ever before. Even people that may not be making a visible scene may be unduly intoxicated and need to be cut off. Servers should try to keep track of how many drinks they serve a patron and keep within the limits. Also monitor how many drinks a patron consumes and encourage drinkers to be responsible and call a lift home rather than drink and drive.
According to research into alcohol addiction, done by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre people who are still binge drinking into the mid 30s need to be cautious that they do not develop an alcohol addiction. People who continue to binge drink are more at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol, according to research into binge drinking.
According to a researcher at the centre, alcohol dependence is a mental disorder and the word alcoholic no longer describes that person that cannot get by without a drink but there are now varying degrees of addiction and dependence on alcohol which have been defined.
There are apparently 7 criteria for diagnosis of alcohol dependence. If a person develops a tolerance for drinking and needs to consistently increase the quantity of alcohol they consume in order to get the same effect or if they display withdrawal symptoms they may have an alcohol addiction. Also if they begin to consume more alcohol or drink more frequently or if they persistently attempt to give up alcohol but cannot, they may have an alcohol disorder.
Servers of alcohol should never underestimate their responsibility in providing “responsible service of alcohol” which literally implies being socially responsible with how you provide alcohol to your customers. It involves being considerate about your patron’s well-being and not serving alcohol to unduly intoxicated patrons. Also encourage responsible drinking with your words, the signage in your pub or bar and your actions.