Student life can seem to revolve around alcohol. Drinking in moderation is an enjoyable and usually harmless feature of student life.

Getting drunk regularly can have potentially serious physical, social and academic effects. Even drinking to excess just occasionally can be damaging.

In the short term, drinking too much can impair academic performance because your concentration will be worse and you're more likely to miss classes, hand in your work late and do badly in exams.

But it can also put you at immediate risk of serious situations ranging from date rape to car crashes. If you're drunk, you're also more likely to be a victim of violence or to have unprotected sex, which carries all the associated risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

In the longer term, regularly drinking too much can cause liver disease, an increased risk of heart attack, weight gain and a number of different cancers. Such problems are now occurring at younger ages as alcohol use has increased.

The healthy choice in the short-term is to take just a little extra care to protect yourself and your friends when you are going out drinking (for instance, know your own limits and make sure you know how to get home safely). If you have had a heavy drinking session, you should remain alcohol-free for a full 48 hours to give your body tissues time to recover.

In the longer-term, you do need to have an idea how much you're drinking on a regular basis, in units of alcohol, so you can keep your risks low. The NHS recommends:

If you are concerned about the amount you are drinking or feel that you cannot perform regular tasks without drinking you may want to speak to someone about this.

You can make an appointment to see a university counsellor by calling 01332 593000

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