BEN WILKINSON | DAILY MAIL
Men are more likely to lose their memory, while women become 'obnoxious and insulting'
- Drinking games 'pose a health risk to freshers and put them at serious risk'
- Result in people consuming 15 per cent more alcohol in one go
- Doctors warn this raises risk of choking on vomit and brain damage
- Men were twice as likely to lose their memory after a heavy session
- Women were more likely to indulge in embarrassing behaviour
They are often seen as a way of breaking the ice among nervous new university students.
But alcohol abuse campaigners are warning drinking games pose a health risk to young freshers and put them at serious risk. New research has established students drinking by the rules of a game – coupled with peer pressure – consume around 15 per cent more alcohol.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, who sits on the medical advisory board for charity Drinkaware, said: ‘Part of the problem is they are letting their hair down – usually for the first time. 'They are feeling very nervous, most feel is a way of fitting in – a rite of passage.
‘This sort of drinking has real health implications. We know there is a significant issue of alcohol poisoning with young people because they do not tend to drink every day. ‘The big problem is many of these young people haven’t drunk that much in the past and they do not know how they will react to alcohol.’
The doctor said new students not used to alcohol are more likely to choke on their vomit and suffer brain damage after playing drinking games.
She also said young women could be left vulnerable to sexual assault.
The new study – published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse – found the games were more likely to cause health problems and lead to memory loss and embarrassing behaviour.
Scientists – who surveyed more than 700 new students - also said men were twice as likely to lose their memory after playing a drinking game and usually consumed two more drinks than women.
But women have been warned the games are more likely to make them say embarrassing things and become obnoxious or insulting.
Games played by the tested student included ‘Beer Pong’ and card game ‘Ring of Fire’.
Anne E. Ray, lead author of the research at the Centre of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, said: ‘New students regularly engage in drinking games without realising the consequences.
'What we’ve shown here is the negative impact of these games on both drinking habits and social interactions.’
She added: ‘We’d like to see better education of incoming students from university about the consequences of drinking games.’
It comes as experts this week put the bill at treating alcohol abusers at £2.8billion after it was revealed nearly 10 million NHS admissions in England in a year were alcohol related.
Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive at Alcohol Concern, said: ‘We all know universities often have heavy drinking cultures.
‘This isn’t helped when young people are bombarded with alcohol advertising telling them drinking is a normal and positive thing to do, and it’s often available at ridiculously low prices.
‘The reality is that drinking in dangerous ways can not only leave individuals vulnerable, it also leads to all sorts of health problems.
‘Student and university bodies need to take the welfare of their students more seriously, educating them of the risks of such games and doing more to limit the harm which comes from excessive drinking.
‘We also need the government to crack down on the availability of cheap booze by introducing a minimum unit price.’