South Africans have a big drinking problem
If you indulge in alcohol, you’re definitely not alone.The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) published a global status report on alcohol and health. In this report, South Africa is ranked the 6th drunkest country in the world. This is despite the heavy sin tax levy on alcohol.
It’s no cause for “cheers” that SA is near the top of the list as a nation of drinkers.
31% of adults report consuming alcohol. If this is true, the third of South Africans that do drink tend to drink heavily.
The dangers of alcohol
South Africans should keep in mind, it’s not just how much you drink but it’s also how you drink that can impact your health.
Drinking alcohol isn’t all that bad. In fact, if you drink small amounts regularly that add up to a large amount, it’s way less harmful than binge drinking large amounts occasionally that add up to the same amount. Binge drinking doesn’t just hit you with a hangover the next day. It also has serious effects on your body.
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking is the practice of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a single session. This is defined as:
- For men – drinking five or more drinks within two hours, and
- For women – drinking four or more drinks within two hours.
Short-term effects of binge drinking include:
- Slurred speech
- Upset stomach
- Breathing difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart failure
- Low blood sugar
- Depletion of minerals
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Impaired judgment
- Memory lapses
Long term effects of alcohol include:
- Unintentional injuries caused by accidents
- Relationship issues
- Loss of productivity at work
- Alcohol poisoning
- Suppressed immune system
- Low platelets
- Increased risk of stroke
- Reduced fertility in men and women
- Decreased sex drive
- Nerve damage
- Liver disease
- Cancer of the mouth and throat
South Africans who want to but are struggling to quit drinking can contact Alcoholics Anonymous South Africa national helpline 0861 HELPAA (435 722).