Binge drinking: what it’s doing to your body

So, you went out and had a few too many [insert your go-to drink]. It happens… maybe a little more than it should – but hey, we ain’t here to judge. You do that well enough when you wake up feeling like you’ve had a run-in with a gang of angry bikers who made you drink radio-active bog water that was actually on fire.

So, why are you feeling this way? Binge drinking – by definition – is when we consume 4+ drinks in about two hours, and the effect it has on us is profound. You might say, “but I’m never gonna do this again”. Yeah, sure… until next Friday.

So, just so you know, here’s what’s going on with your badly babelas-ed body.

Your brain: Not only can binge drinking cause memory loss, unconsciousness, and impaired judgement (drunk dialing your ex), doing it repeatedly can interfere with the brain’s overall function and structure.

Your heart: Over time, frequent binge-drinking can weaken the heart and eventually increase the risk of developing life-threatening conditions like seizures, strokes, and even sudden cardiac death.

Your pancreas: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause blood vessels in the pancreas to swell, leading to pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, the early stages of many of these conditions are often unfelt, which means they go untreated, and that can cause a lifetime of ugly complications.

Your liver: Too much alcohol over a short period of time can overwhelm our metabolism, leaving the liver to compensate. This can lead to long-term complications, like hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and sometimes even liver failure.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks every now and then, but if you’re binge-drinking heavily and it’s happening more that you’d like, maybe it’s time to take the pedal off the metal. If you don’t know how to, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes real courage to challenge the behaviours that might be hurting us and the people we love – and that is something worth raising a glass to (of water, of course). 

Bestmed has contracted with various Designated Service Providers (DSPs) to provide rehabilitation for alcohol and substance abuse. Please note that this benefit is subject to pre-authorisation and will be funded up to a maximum limit or a duration of 21 days, whichever is depleted first.

Bestmed has also partnered with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to offer members a free 24-hour mental health helpline, with the aim to support members who are experiencing mental health issues.

Bestmed covers chronic medication for major depression on plans Beat4, Pace1, Pace2, Pace3, Pace4 and Pulse2 plans.

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