Happy Friday.

Trashed: An Essay

We all like a laugh. And you can't have a laugh on a night out without having a bit of a drink, can you?

After all, what's the point of going out if you're not going to have a drink or several to keep up with your mates?

But what's such a laugh about throwing your guts up and speaking to the porcelain telephone all night? Drinking's alright as far as it goes, but there comes a point when falling over, getting into fights and getting off with Mr. or Miss Personality Bypass loses its appeal.

Getting so wrecked you can barely walk, never mind walk straight, means you're putting yourself at risk of more than a sore head the next day.

If you've had too many, you're much more likely to have an accident on the way home. Or when you get there.

Around half of all pedestrians aged 16-60 who are killed in road accidents have more booze in their blood stream than the legal drink-drive limit.

Still feeling good about getting trashed?

Think about it.

Nearly half of household fires are linked with people who have been drinking.

Alcohol is a factor in at least seven per cent of drownings.

People who have sex after drinking are much less likely to use condoms - increasing the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease or getting pregnant.

Have another one...

About 1,000 children aged under 15 are admitted to hospital each year with acute alcohol poisoning. All need emergency treatment.

You can also get a criminal record. In 1994, 57,900 people were found guilty or cautioned for offences of drunkenness. The peak age of offenders was 18. Hundreds of thousands of other offences, including criminal damage and violence, are drink related.

If you get completely wasted by bingeing on alcohol, you put a great strain on your liver and other parts of your body. It also makes you dehydrated.

If you're into sport, heavy bouts of boozing damages the red muscle fibres you need for endurance, so you'll find it hard to keep it up in more ways than one. Regularly drinking too much increases the risk of damaging the white muscle fibres that are needed for sprinting and jumping. More of a step, stagger and fall than hop, step and jump.

If you do get really drunk, it's best to lay off alcohol altogether for the next two days to give your body tissues time to recover. Forget the myths of coffee, more coffee and a fry-up. The only cure for a heavy session is time.

If you get drunk on a regular basis, it may be worth asking your GP for help.

If you carry on drinking too much over the years, there are all sorts of long term risks to your health - to say nothing of your bank balance.

So what might happen if I don't take your advice?

You'll probably put on weight - if your idea of attractive is a spare tyre around your belly, then keep it up. Alcohol is high on calories with no real food value. Your blood pressure will also go up, increasing the chance of having a heart attack and some kinds of stroke. You'll also risk liver damage.

Other risks faced by long term, heavy drinkers are cancer, especially cancers of the mouth and throat. If you drink heavily and smoke, you're 150 times more likely to develop throat cancer than people who don't.

Women also risk having problems if they want to become pregnant.

Men and women can develop psychological and emotional problems, including depression and an inability to relate to people properly.

And that's nothing to laugh about.

Photo: The Waist High Collection
Trashed courtesy: wrecked.co.uk