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Drinking and big nights out

Everyone enjoys socialising with friends. Having diabetes doesn’t make you any less of a party animal, just hopefully a more organised one! You will need to plan your nights out a little more than people who don’t live with diabetes. This includes doing things like making sure you eat beforehand, watching what you eat and drink, taking a hypo kit with you, wearing some ID and looking after yourself afterwards. You should also take some snacks with you, so you can munch on the run.

Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator for more information on drinking and diabetes.

Alcohol advice

To limit health and social risks, these guidelines might be helpful:

  • Healthy adults should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

This recommendation is the same for people with or without diabetes. Counting standard drinks can help you to drink as safely as possible. You can compare your drinking against the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, which are based on standard drinks.

If you have diabetes you can have a drink or two occasionally. Ideally, you should pace yourself, avoid binge drinking and make sure you eat some food before you go out. Keep an eye on what you are actually drinking as well, including the mixers. There are lots of other things to think about before you head out for a big night on the town.

There are some tips on alcohol consumption for young people living with type 1 diabetes. Read more in our booklet Alcohol and type 1 diabetes.

Going out

Having a hypo in public isn’t a good feeling, so checking and insulin still need to be a part of your life, even when you are out. It may also be harder to recognise the signs of a hypo because they can be similar to feeling tipsy and then it might be too late. Unfortunately, there can be a lack of understanding about diabetes in the general community. If you feel embarrassed, feel free to go and inject your insulin in private away from prying eyes.

The next morning

If you’ve had a big night (either from alcohol or late night), make sure you get up in the morning to test your BGLs / insulin and have something to eat. You can always get some more sleep later. Think about getting someone to check on you or call you in the morning (that’s where parents can be useful!).

More information

For more information on drinking and big nights out check out:

Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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