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Drinking & Big Nights Out

Image Night OutEveryone enjoys socialising with friends. Having diabetes doesn’t make you any less of a party animal, just hopefully a better organised one! You will need to plan your nights out a little more than non-diabetics, by 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. Also take some snacks with you, so you can munch on the run.

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

What you’ll find here

Alcohol Advice
Going Out
The Next Morning
More Information
Hot Tips for… Late/Big Nights 

Alcohol Advice

“I went through a bad time in my teenage years. I had lots of arguments with my parents. I started working as an apprentice and started drinking spirits every Friday afternoon. Sometimes I didn’t think about my diabetes at all. I didn’t care. Then one day when I was 21, I felt a huge pain in my back. It turns out my BGL was 32 and I had a huge abscess on my kidney. It took something like that to turn my life around.” (Anonymous)


To limit health and social risks the guidelines below might be a good rule of thumb:

  • Men should drink no more than 4 standard drinks a day
  • Women should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day
  • Everyone should have 1 or 2 alcohol-free days every week.

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. Also, keep an eye on what you are actually drinking, including the mixers. There are lots of other things to think about before you head out for a big night on the town.

Here are some tips on alcohol consumption for people living with type 1 diabetes.

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Going Out

“I once got told I was disgusting and should be ashamed of myself, by this woman in the toilet who assumed I was a junkie.” (Anonymous)


Having a hypo in public isn’t a good feeling so testing and insulin still need to be a part of your life even when you are out. Also it may be harder to recognize 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 are feeling embarrassed, feel free to go and inject your insulin in private away from prying eyes.

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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. Then you can get some more sleep. Think about getting someone to check on you or call you in the morning (maybe that’s where parents can actually be useful!).

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More Information

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

  • Diabetes Australia’s website
  • Diabetes NSW’s ‘kids and teens’ website
  • The Type 1 Diabetes Network Inc. website
  • Keep Your Life Online DVD - This DVD contains state-of-the-art computer graphics and an awesome soundtrack to take the viewer on an action packed journey through the complex lives of young people living with diabetes. It uses ‘real TV’ style drama and interactive graphics to present the hard facts on sport, peer pressure, sex and smoking as well as some of the hotter issues like recreational drugs and alcohol. The DVD is available for purchase from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, or from http://www.awch.org.au/keep-your-life-online.php.  

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HOT TIPS FROM A YOUNG PERSON WITH DIABETES FOR… Late/Big Nights…

“Eat! I know it may not always seem to be the coolest thing ever, but people stepping over your passed out body when you are hypo-ing (and they just think you’re drunk) is not a good look.” (Holly, age 18)
 
“Plan ahead! And stay off ‘alcopops’ – they’re basically sugar!” (Ruth, age 25)
 
“Make sure you keep an eye on what you’re doing in relation to your diabetes and you can still have a great night.” (Anonymous)

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