Many Irish people are in denial about their drinking habits, with some “binge drinkers” not realising they are drinking dangerous levels of alcohol.
A report published by Health Research Board concludes that that two in three individuals fail to recognise when their consumption of alcohol is at an excessive level.
CEO of Drink Aware Sheena Horgan told The Hard Shoulder that there is a "knowledge deficit" among drinkers.
"If people don't know what low risk is and they don't know what high risk is, then how can they understand what binge drinking is?"
97% of adults who drink don't know the HSE's low-risk weekly guidelines.
It advises no more than 11 standard drinks across the week for women and 17 for men, with at least two alcohol-free days.
A standard drink is the equivalent of a half pint, a 100ml glass of wine and a pub measure of spirits.
A "binge" is six drinks or more in a sitting - or just three pints.
The notion that most drinkers are ignorant or "in denial" is "provocative and patronising" when people are simply uneducated, Ms Horgan said.
Around a third of adults in Ireland want to drink less, and some are already making changes to their drinking habits.
Someone may only have a binge once a week and not drink for several days after, but even when under the weekly limit, binge drinking is strongly discouraged.
"It just doesn't give your body enough time to process the alcohol in the system", said Ms Horgan.
Are you a binge drinker?
Between 2020 and 2021, the frequency of binges increased among drinkers, with the figure doubling in the 18-24 age group.
One listener who wrote in said: "I'm going out tonight and I'm going to have at least six or seven pints, and I won't drink for another month."
"Would I be classed as a binge drinker? I don't class myself as one."
Ms Horgan said: "Yes. You're binge drinking."
"Hazardous drinkers are those that are drinking at a risky level but may not have experienced harm."
"That particular person may be absolutely fine. It doesn't mean to say there aren't harms that will come further down the line or harms that maybe they're not cognizant of around sleep, mental health, relationships."
Main image shows men drinking pints at a bar counter. Picture by: Dan Grytsku/Alamy