What is binge drinking?

Drinking to the point where the more severe negative effects of drinking alcohol occur, especially intentionally, is called binge drinking. 

Because being drunk stops a person thinking clearly and acting sensibly, a person who drinks to excess may put themselves and others at risk from injury due to falls, physical assault and dangerous behaviour. This is why alcohol is closely associated with road accidents, fights, violence, unwanted sexual activity and unprotected sex. Alcohol use has also been found to be associated with suicide and self-inflicted harm.

Australian Alcohol Guidelines

The Australian Alcohol Guidelines provide information for Australians on reducing risks to health from drinking alcohol. Current Australian guidelines recommend no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking to reduce the risk  of injury (such as injuries under the influence of alcohol). 

This guideline is based on evidence suggesting that:

  • as more alcohol is consumed on a single occasion, skills and inhibitions decrease while risky behaviour increases, leading to a greater risk of injury during or immediately after that occasion
  • while women reach a given blood alcohol concentration with a lower amount of alcohol, on average, men take more risks and experience more harmful effects
  • drinking four standard drinks on a single occasion more than doubles the relative risk of an injury in the six hours afterwards, and this relative risk rises even more rapidly when more than four drinks are consumed on a single occasion. 

How can you reduce your intake?

  • Drink water instead of alcohol and use it to quench your thirst
  • Sip alcoholic drinks slowly
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water
  • Pace yourself and drink slowly
  • Avoid high alcoholic drinks
  • Keep count of how many drinks you have had
  • Observe your friends drinking and keep them safe


Binge drinking - Reach Out Australia

Find out more

Find out more about Alcohol on the Drug Info website.