Binge drinking

Binge drinking is when someone drinks a lot of alcohol quickly on one occasion. The person can be out with friends, playing a drinking game, or just drinking too much because they want to get drunk.

According to Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, binge drinking is:

  • Five or more drinks on one occasion for men
  • Four or more drinks on one occasion for women

When you binge drink, you get drunk very fast. This is because you drink faster than your body can get rid of the alcohol. It takes more than one hour for your body to break down one standard drink of alcohol. The only way to get sober is to stop drinking and to wait.

Why is binge drinking so dangerous?

Binge drinking is often more dangerous than other types of drinking, because the more alcohol someone drinks on any one occasion, the more likely they are to get hurt and do dangerous things. In fact, getting very drunk could lead to alcohol poisoning and possible death. This can happen when a person who is very drunk passes out, throws up and chokes on their own vomit.

When someone binge drinks, it puts them at increased risk for:  

  • Getting into a fight or being assaulted.
  • Having non-consensual sex or forcing sexual activity on others without consent.
  • Developing or worsening depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
  • Having blackouts, where you lose all memory of where you were and what you did when you were drunk.
  • Getting a severe hangover that includes headaches, shaking and vomiting.
  • Looking at suicide as a way out when you are feeling down.
  • Being injured or killed from a fall, drowning, frostbite, exposure or fire.
  • Being injured or killed when out on the land, camping or snowmobiling.
  • Getting sick and possibly dying from alcohol poisoning.

Click here to learn what to do if someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning.

Click here for tips on responsible and safer use of alcohol.