What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking, or heavy episodic drinking, is the practice of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a single session, commonly defined as having five or more “standard” drinks in a row. This limit is four or more in case of women. Binge drinking is quite common in the youth, and research shows that 1 out of 6 American indulges in alcohol. College students also indulge in binge drinking and statistics reveal that an estimated 1,825 college students between ages 18 to 24 die each year in car accidents involving alcohol.
When someone indulges in binge drinking, their blood alcohol concentration level will rise to 0.08 percent or more. within two hours of consumption. Binge drinking is more common among individuals aged 26 and older and approximately 70 percent of binge drinking episodes are reported in this age group.
Alcohol affects different people differently. For example, if the person was a male or female, they would require different levels of alcohol before their BAC reaches a certain limit. Similarly, the age, height, and weight of the person and their metabolism rate will also determine how alcohol affects their body. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism classifies a drink as follows:
- One 12-oz. beer
- One 5-oz. glass of wine
- One 1.5-oz. shot of distilled spirits
Binge drinking increases the risk of developing into alcohol abuse. It can also lead to alcoholism, which can lead to further complications. Binge drinking also has a lot of harmful consequences associated with it. However, many people view excessive drinking as a fun pastime. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can affect the person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Binge drinking not only hurts the individual, but it also has an impact on their friends and family.
People may turn to binge drinking for any of the following reasons:
To Have Fun – Young adults and college students usually drink at parties with friends to have fun. However, frequent partying and drinking at night may soon turn into a bad habit and will cause alcohol dependence.
To Forget Their Problems – A common reason why many people turn to binge drinking is to forget their problems. They may feel better after having one drink and they may soon drink more to continue the effect. This eventually leads to a lot of problems.
To Test Their Tolerance Level – Again, when friends sit together, they may challenge others to drink in order to test their tolerance level. Drinking games can also lead to problems quickly if the participants are not careful enough.
To Boost Confidence – A lot of young adults and adolescents turn to drinking as rebellion against their parents, or even to boost their self confidence and to assert their independence. However, the habit can turn bad very soon.
Side Effects of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking has temporary side effects as well as harmful side-effects. Common temporary side effects of binge drinking include lack of coordination, nausea, dehydration, memory loss, shakiness, and poor decision making.
The long-term harmful side effects of binge drinking include damage to the organs. Binge drinking leads to brain damage, stroke, liver disease, heart problems, cancer, and infertility.