The prevalence of binge drinking in Ireland has increased vastly over the past two decades. However recent studies have suggested that women are in more danger than men when it comes to over-indulging in alcoholic beverages.
Despite binge drinking affecting all ages, those who are most likely to binge on a regular basis are usually between the ages of 16 to 25. Many experts have aligned this with the affordability of alcohol in modern day society.
Over the past few months, we have witnessed the government discuss the importance of decreasing the number of youths in Ireland who engage in binge drinking and a series of procedures have been considered – including the introduction of the minimum alcohol pricing.
Minimum alcohol pricing would reduce drink-fuelled crime in Ireland while also help save lives and minimise certain health concerns.
Since the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing in Canada, there have been fewer alcohol-related crimes and deaths, which has lead government officials to believe that Ireland would benefit from a similar bill. Currently, minimum pricing is one of the key proposals in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill currently being drafted by the Department of Health. This bill would bring about restrictions on advertising, health warnings on all alcoholic containers along with the alcohol and calorie content, and the prices of cheap alcohol in off-licences and supermarkets would be affected.
So, why is binge drinking an issue now more than ever?
- 2,000 hospital beds in Ireland are required each night due to alcohol-related illnesses and injuries.
- A study recently carried out by Charles Holahan, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues discovered that those who binge drink have double the odds of dying within the next 20 years, compared to those who do not.
- Binge drinking can have detrimental effects on your organs and body and can eventually lead to a number of health problems including: high blood pressure, liver disease, brain damage, mental health issues such as depression, tobacco use and obesity. A link has also been found recently between binge drinking and cancer with approximately 3.5% of cancer deaths in the U.S. related to alcohol-use in 2009. For women, an alarming relationship between breast cancer and binge drinking has been uncovered as alcohol can increase the level of estrogen in the body.
Every year, more and more studies are exposing the implications of binge drinking and its effects on our bodies. Both men and women alike are in risk of life-threatening health issues and it is imperative that we take extra care of our bodies with regards to alcohol use.
Alcohol should be consumed sensibly and with caution. For men, it is advised not to exceed more than four drinks per day or 21 drinks in a week, while women are recommended to consume no more than two drinks a day or 14 drinks in a week.
If you are worried about the effects of binge drinking, please visit www.drinkaware.ie for more information.