Many people drink to relax at the end of a long day, to blow off steam, be social, celebrate or even as a means of coping with anxiety or depression. Drinking alcohol is a large part of how our society operates. It’s one of the most common ways people get together – over drinks.
While some can moderate, others have found it much harder to control. What may start out as casual drinking, unfortunately, turns into heavy drinking, as well as binge drinking, very quickly for many, which can be dangerous and concerning. With all of the dangers surrounding binge drinking, it’s important to have all of the facts.
What Is The Definition of Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking typically refers to heavy drinking in a short span of time often with the sole intention of getting drunk. Most commonly, based on averages in research, this means about eight drinks for men or four to six drinks for women in a single drinking session, which spikes blood alcohol level significantly.
How Binge Drinking Can Start
Alcohol abuse is a prevalent activity that usually begins for most people around their college years. The onset of binge drinking usually begins around this timeframe for a good majority of individuals, but is not limited to college students.
Binge drinking is a common phenomenon for young drinkers and those that attend universities. Drinking games and practices like flip cup, beer pong, power hour, and pre-gaming are all habits that incorporate binge drinking.
Binge drinking has also been linked to depression in a lot of cases; not to mention social drinking can lead into heavy drinking later in life. While this pattern of alcohol consumption is usually associated with younger adults, there are binge drinkers among all age groups. Deliberate excessive drinking with the goal of becoming intoxicated can happen at any age.
Effects Of Binge Drinking
Alcohol misuse comes with a whole set of consequences. Perhaps, the most dangerous effects of alcohol are on the brain. Often heavy binge drinking causes difficulty walking, slurred speech, slower reaction times, blackouts, memory lapses, and memory loss, as well as decreased sleep quality because alcohol alters REM sleep and serotonin levels. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning which is a severe condition that can result in death.
Binge drinking puts you at a high risk for poor decision-making, violence, crime, drunk driving as well as putting yourself in harm’s way more often. Moreover, alcoholism is typically developed after consistent, long bouts of heavy or binge drinking because the habit forms into a necessity for a lot of people.
Binge Drinking Withdrawal Symptoms
In addition to the physical risks of binge drinking, all the associated alcohol withdrawal symptoms come with it. Binge drinking withdrawal symptoms include:
- Severe hangovers
- Body shakes
- Delirium Tremens (DTS) which often causes seizures and can lead to death
Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
One of the most common long-term effects of alcohol consumption is liver disease, but is has also been linked to other chronic problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, digestive issues as well as even cancer. Not only that, but alcohol binge drinking causes brain damage that can cause several mental disorders as well as lead to alcohol dependency.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Up to 80 percent of alcoholics, however, have a deficiency in thiamine and some of these people will go on to develop serious brain disorders such as Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS),” which is an extremely debilitating condition.
As you can see, binge drinking is a dangerous activity that can have very serious and lasting effects on your health. Whether you are a binge drinker or not, if you are abusing alcohol in any capacity, it’s important to seek help.
Alcoholism is an extensive problem that affects millions of people. Alcohol treatment programs are available to help you overcome this form of addiction. Contact us today to understand your options and how you can get started on the path to recovery today.
Written by: Carly Benson
As an avid traveler, yogi, and confessed self-help junkie, Carly writes about her adventures in life and sobriety on MiraclesAreBrewing.com where she offers inspirational concepts for enlightenment.