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Why Binge Drinking Can Do More Damage Than Continuous Drinking

Published: 20/08/2007

There's a common misconception that, to be an alcoholic, you must be drinking every single day. After all, goes the thinking, if I can go a week or more without a single drink, then I clearly don't have a drinking problem.

The trouble is that periodic episodes of binge drinking can wreak far more damage on the human mind and body than daily, continuous drinking, says Sue Allchurch, director of the Lynwode Manor Group.

"Binge drinking is really dangerous because the body is constantly withdrawing from alcohol - and withdrawal can bring on fits, strokes, and heart attacks, as well as problems with the nervous system and dramatic rises and falls in blood sugar level," she says.

If you drink every day, Allchurch explains, the body eventually adapts and blood sugar remains relatively stable. But if you binge drink, your blood sugar level falls drastically once the binge ends, putting a huge strain on the pancreas as it struggles to control blood sugar levels. For that reason, she says, many binge drinkers go on to develop diabetes.

There are other dangers, too. Because binge drinkers typically achieve higher levels of intoxication than continuous drinkers, they are more prone to accidents, injuries and other possible negative consequences of drinking such as work and legal problems.

Binge drinking is defined by the UK Department of Health as "eight or more units of alcohol for men, and six or more units of alcohol for women, on their heaviest drinking day in the past week".

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics, Allchurch stresses. "But if you do have a habit of going on binges that get out of control, then the likelihood is that you have a drinking problem that needs to be addressed," she adds. For many, the answer will be an alcohol rehabilitation treatment.

Lynwode Manor offers help and assistance to people with alcoholism and alcohol abuse problems. Read more information on alcohol rehabilitation treatment or alcohol detox available at Lynwode Manor or call us on 0800 066 4173 to speak in complete confidence with someone who can help.

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