Student nights, cheap alcohol and you

March 27, 2012

A recent Grand Slam, the end of term, coursework submissions and exam successes: the next weeks will offer many reasons to celebrate. If you do enjoy drinking alcohol while celebrating, try not to put yourself in immediate danger – or cause yourself long term harm.

A drunk person being unwell

You already know that alcohol can be bad for you. Liver damage may be a (hopefully distant) worry, and you can probably work off the 14 pounds of flab that the average student gains thanks to alcohol by going to the gym. The damage to your bank account on the other hand might take longer to undo.

There are, however, more immediate concerns, if you drink irresponsibly. Vomitting is no fun at all and won’t impress your friends, especially if they end up having to clean you up or get you home.

Surgery – over time, even drinking just a bit too much can cause serious liver damage

If you end up on your own while in a bad state, things could go seriously wrong. You could become a victim of theft or violent crime. If there’s enough alcohol in your system, it could even kill you, even if an ambulance is called.

The next few weeks will see many student nights and events around town but just because some drinks may be cheap, that does not mean you have to buy them in quantity.

In summary, please enjoy yourselves but if you do drink, don’t assume that drinking to excess is normal and okay – and look after your safety and your friends to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

How good or bad are your drinking habits?

You can use online tools to give you an idea about how healthy (or unhealthy) your drinking habits are. They range from relatively lighthearted ones – like BBC Newsbeat’s Booze Calculator – via Unit calculators that translate your drink consumption into the “units” that health services use, all the way to NHS-developed alcohol tracker tools and iPhone apps.

If you want to cut down on alcohol, here are tips that might help you at achieving that aim.

  • Decide why you want to cut down – you need a reason that motivates you.
  • How much do you drink? Map your drinking for an average week to find out how much you want to cut out.
  • How much do you spend? Map this for a week to see how it’s impacting on your finances.
  • Have an open conversation with your friends and see if anyone else is interested in cutting down.
  • Support can be really helpful so try to find someone else who can help, maybe a friend, staff member or family member.
  • Don’t buy in rounds – drink at your own pace.
  • Limit your spending – take a limited amount out with you or set a limit on what you’ll spend on alcohol when you go shopping.
  • Start drinking later – figure out when you normally start drinking and add on an hour. Be careful not to turn this into staying out an hour longer at the end of the night!
  • Plan to take breaks – decide on days in the week when you won’t have any alcohol (a minimum of two days out of seven is a good guide). Plan to do other things that you enjoy on these days.
  • Exercise – This helps with your overall stress levels as well as fitness, meaning that you may not feel the need for a drink to 'switch off’.
  • Change the strength of your drinks – choose drinks with lower alcohol content. You can often do this without anyone noticing that you’ve made the change.
  • Don’t get another drink in until your glass is empty, and don’t let anyone else top it up for you.
  • If you have a car, offer to be the designated driver for the night.

Tagged: campuswatch