What is binge drinking?

“Binge drinking” is commonly understood to mean intentionally drinking enough alcohol to get drunk. It involves drinking heavily on one occasion or over several days or weeks. However, binge drinking is not scientifically defined, and there is no single accepted definition.

A commonly used proxy measure of binge drinking is the consumption of five or more standard drinks on a single occasion of drinking. This is the 2009 NHMRC definition of short-term risky drinking (see FAQ: What are Australia's Alcohol Consumption Guidelines?)

Source: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.

Single Occasion of Drinking: Any time a person consumes one or more drinks containing alcohol, and during this period of time their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not return to zero.

Standard Drink: A drink that contains 10 grams (or 12.5 millilitres) of alcohol.