We’ve all been in that situation where we have had one too many drinks on a night out and are feeling a little bit worse for wear the next day. But now, an addiction expert has warned that a hangover might be the least of your worries the morning after.
Just one night of binge drinking can have serious short- and long-term consequences affecting all parts of your body, including the brain.
With this in mind, Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Delamere, has revealed what happens to your body when you binge drink.
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking often refers to the excessive use of alcohol in a short period. For men, this is defined as drinking five or more drinks in a few hours; for women, it is defined as consuming four or more drinks in two hours.
Binge drinking does not necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic. Still, those dependent on alcohol may engage in nights of drinking more regularly, which can have dangerous consequences for our health.
So what happens to the body when we binge drink?
When you drink alcohol, it goes straight into your bloodstream and is carried to the brain. As a result, a few things begin to happen, including your vision becoming blurry, loss of coordination, impaired memory and more.
Binge drinking can also cause people to black out. The increased alcohol in your brain can mean you stop forming new memories. The risk of blacking out also becomes further heightened when a person binge drinks without eating anything first.
Drinking in large amounts can affect the gastrointestinal system and be nasty for the stomach. Not only can it cause damage to the stomach lining and kidneys, but it may also manifest itself in abdominal pain or even chest pain.
Bingeing on alcohol can also be dangerous as it can make a person more likely to vomit. If a person is vomiting violently or continually, they risk tearing their oesophagus, which could cause a life-threatening bleed.
While we all know that long-term alcohol abuse can lead to health issues with the liver, binge drinking can also be just as damaging.
The liver is designed to eliminate fat and alcohol but prioritises alcohol over fat. This can lead to a build-up of dangerous liver fat, liver disease, and other health issues further down the line.
In the short term, when a person binges on drinks , they may begin to feel heart palpitations. However, it could lead to health complications in the long run, including irregular heartbeats, weakened heart muscles and high blood pressure.
Just like the liver, the kidneys are designed to filter out any waste or unneeded fluid in the body, but binge drinking even once can get in the way of what they are supposed to do.
Alcohol stops certain hormones from producing that will help your kidneys put water back into your body. When alcohol suppresses hormones, it can cause dehydration which may contribute to how bad a hangover you have the next day.