What binge drinking really does to your body

Today, the amount of binge drinking that goes on in middle age is, Angus suggests, pretty comparable to rates among our younger colleagues. Because for your big night out to qualify as a “binge”, you need only sink six units if you’re a woman (that’s two large glasses of wine or a couple of strong cocktails), or eight units if you’re a man (about three pints of cider, four of normal strength beer or five bottled beers).

The other thing to be aware of is that one size does not fit all. “I really think the definition of binge drinking should be different for older adults,” says Tony Rao, visiting researcher at King’s College London. “We currently have the same definition of binge drinking for a 20-year-old as we do for a 70-year-old, and that’s not good for public education or health.”

Susan Laurie, who delivers workplace webinars on mindful drinking, agrees. “Once I hit 40, the impact of alcohol really cranked up a gear or three,” she says. “The older you get, the less forgiving your body and mental health are. My ‘hangxiety’ – those anxious feelings the morning after – would be sky-high.”

The danger of midlife bingeing

“The fancy name for the problem here is ‘zero-order kinetics’,” says Rao. “Basically, no matter how much you drink, your liver will always process it at the same rate.”

That rate is roughly one unit an hour. “If you have binged on eight units of alcohol, it’s only going to

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