Drink and be merry – just don’t overdo it

Every year, as the Christmas festive season gets going, my heart starts to sink. Flyers for parties offering “10 free drinks per person!” are plastered all over the gym. Pubs roar with drunken office lunches. Getting sloshed seems to be normal, if not mandatory.

Excess, of course, can be lots of fun. I have six different types of gin in my house, and am not exactly unknown at the local bottle bank. The problem is that when it comes to alcohol, one can happily surpass excess without noticing anything particularly wrong, until it all goes very wrong indeed. A famous gastroenterologist used to do a “vomit audit” once a year in Aberdeen by counting vile pavement reminders of the night before on a pre-prescribed route. This gave a ready snapshot of gastric side effects. But this is not the biggest problem with alcoholic excess.

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