Created on Saturday, 06 August 2011 20:04
Written by Yvonne Toh
The legal age to enter clubs in Singapore is 18 years old, the age where Singaporean youths are still at an impressionable age and vulnerable to peer pressure, especially towards such activities that they gain access to the forbidden fruit.
Just like a child when we were younger, curiosity gets us to do certain things disapproved by our parents, but we go ahead and do it anyway.
For this select group of Singaporean youths, entering clubs and taking part in drinking sessions is one of those things. The only difference is that, our parents are no longer there to tell us what can be done, what can't be done, or how much you can drink before your body starts rejecting all the alcohol.
Nonetheless, that awful experience called vomiting ensues. And before you know it, you are woken up by a throbbing headache the next day, feeling like you are in living hell.
Vomiting is one of the results of binge drinking, or what is known as heavy drinking over a short period of time. Binge drinking also results in harmful short-term and long-term effects over time.
This problem of binge drinking seems to be an upward trend now, as observed from countless club-goers often seen throwing up outside of clubs. Some even pass out on the pavements or grass patches, unaware that they are succumbing to the effects of overdrinking.
To add on, the effects of binge drinking snowballs too. As a person continues consuming more and more alcohol, their dependence on it increases as well. Vice versa, when deprived of alcohol, these people may exude alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The short-term harm of binge drinking is known as alcohol poisoning – when someone goes way over their limits. Their body goes cold; they continuously vomit; and get into a highly intoxicated state. The intoxication affects the person's gag reflexes, known as the pharyngeal reflexes, which one may die from choking on their own vomit. Other symptoms of alcohol poisoning include the lack of muscular coordination, blurred vision, impaired judgment, and even coma.
From my personal experience, it was a scary experience watching a friend experience alcohol poisoning, with our friends almost having to call an ambulance before the club owner offered us some ginger tea to dilute the alcohol in our friend's body. Of course, if you are unsure how to help a friend experiencing alcohol poisoning, give a quick dial to 995 before it’s too late.
Besides the short term effects one can get over within a day, binge or excessive drinking also harms your digestive system, heart, kidney and liver.
Your memory function, concentration and reasoning skills will be adversely affected, and it could also possibly lead up to a stroke. Researchers at Duke University found that alcohol was found to impair activity in brain receptors responsible for memory and learning.
Psychologically, binge drinkers develop mental health problems like depression, anxiety and even insomnia. Alcohol is known as a depressant, which lowers the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain – chemicals responsible for giving you good feelings.
Alcohol is also known to activate a gene linked to depression and other mental health issues, which in extreme cases can cause seizures and manic depressive episodes. Last but not the least, excessive alcohol intake can also affect sexual and hormonal dysfunction as testosterone concentrations and women’s fertility are lowered.
So knowing the ranging effects of binge drinking can be from dealing with a hangover to organ damage, it would only be wise to moderate the amount of alcohol consumption each week to 21 units for men (1 unit = 10ml of pure alcohol), and 14 units for women. Besides, being in an intoxicated state could be embarrassing, especially for women, who choose to go for a night of partying in short dresses or skirts. The end of the night sees them being helped by at least two friends, one to carry, and one to protect her modesty.
While having celebratory drinking sessions in the name of good fun is fine, remember to save your friends the trouble of getting vomit on them or on your hair, and be aware of your alcohol limits. One can definitely have fun and not get wasted just by being firm, saying ‘no more for me.’