Alcohol at University

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You have moved away from home for the first time, you can stay out as late as you want, do whatever you want, you are free! The last thing you want is for a nasty incident to spoil your newfound freedom. No one wants drunken University nights out ending with lost phones, purses, wallets, or worse a criminal record or a trip to A & E.
Not all students drink, but for those that do drink, it is important to stay safe. Below we have some advice and tips on safe drinking.

What is it all about?

Government Alcohol Recommendation

The Government advise that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption but that both men and women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Remember that the more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk to your short-term and long-term health. Don’t save up your 14 units to one day a week!

 Drinkaware image

Practical tips & advice

Before you go out:

  • Make sure you can get home safely by keeping your taxi money separate from your drinking money. Plan how you are getting home and who with.
  • Put ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers on your phone or carry your ICE card on you. (You can get one from the Welfare@CampusLife team)
  • Have something to eat before you start drinking. Eating is not cheating!! 
  • You may not notice the effects of pre-drinking until sometime later, so take it steady and pace yourself throughout the night to avoid getting too drunk too quickly.

While you are out:

  • Make sure you keep an eye on your drink, that means watching the bartender make it as well as keeping it covered.
  • If you think your drink doesn’t taste right, don’t drink it.
  • Pace yourself! 
  • Be wary of accepting drinks from strangers, especially if you didn’t see the drink being opened or poured.
  • Stay with your group.
  • Look after each other.
  • Ensure you have a safe way to get home after a night out. 
  • Try not to walk in areas that aren’t well lit on your own.

After:

  • Drink a pint of water before going to bed to stop your body and skin dehydrating.
  • Give your body a few drink-free days to recover after a heavy drinking session.
  • On average, it takes your body an hour to process each unit of alcohol. Bear this in mind if you plan on just having one and driving home.

 

 

Effects of Drinking

Check out the drinkaware website to learn more about the effects alcohol may be having on your body!

Pre-Loading and Binge Drinking

Drinking at home before a night out can be seen as a cheap way to get drunk. But what are the dangers of this common student habit?

  • Consuming large amounts of alcohol quickly affects your balance and co-ordination leading to an increased risk of accidents and falls.
  • Overdosing on can stop you breathing or stop your heart, or you could choke on your own vomit.
  • Alcohol can make you aggressive. It can affect your ability to think straight meaning that in a conflict situation, where you would usually walk away, you may not stop to consider the consequences of your actions.
  • When drunk people are more likely to misread other people’s behaviour. This could be the reason why so many fights are started over a ‘dirty look’.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lower your inhibitions making it much more likely that you engage in risky behaviour such as having unprotected sex.

 

Dangers of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is when a person drinks lots of alcohol in a short space of time or is drinking just to get drunk.

Some of the risks associated with binge drinking include:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Misjudging risky situations
  • Losing self-control

Did you know: Risks of short-term harms like accidents or injuries increase from between 2 to 5 times after drinking 5-7 units of alcohol? This is equivalent to 2-3 pints of beer.

 

Tolerance

We have all heard someone say that they have a higher tolerance for alcohol as if this is a good thing. However building up a tolerance for alcohol may be a sign that a person is drinking too heavily. They may be drinking so heavily that they no longer notice the effects of alcohol as much as they used to.

Remember: The more alcohol you drink – the greater the risks to your health.

 

Alcohol Poisoning

 What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning can happen if a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short space of time. Your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour. If you drink a lot of alcohol quickly, then the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop your body from working properly.

Remember: There is no minimum amount of alcohol that could cause alcohol poisoning.

What are the effects of alcohol poisoning?

  • It can slow down how fast your brain functions which means you could lose your sense of balance.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can irritate your stomach causing you to vomit.
  • It can stop your gag reflex from working properly which means that you could choke on your own vomit.
  • Alcohol poisoning can affect the nerves that control your breathing causing you to stop breathing.
  • Alcohol can dehydrate you and in extreme cases this can cause permanent brain damage.
  • When someone has alcohol poisoning their body temperature is lower which can lead to hyperthermia.
  • It can also lower your blood sugar levels which can cause you to have seizures.

What are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning?

If you suspect that a friend has alcohol poisoning look out for the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Blue tinged or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Stupor – when someone is conscious but unresponsive
  • Unconscious – when someone is passed out.

 

Drinkaware- What is a unit of alcohol?

Drinkaware- 'Don't be a lone wolf'

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