Binge drinking is defined as drinking enough alcohol to bring one’s blood alcohol level to at least 0.08 grams percent. The CDC lists some of the following disturbing statistics about binge drinking that show how prevalent it is. (https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm)
- Approximately 17% of American adults binge drink four times per month.
- Binge drinking is more common in high-income households than it is in low-income households.
- Although binge drinking is commonly thought of as occurring mainly in college students, it actually occurs more in adults who are 26 or older.
- Men are twice as likely to binge drink as women are.
Recognizing & Preventing the Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is not just a fun time with friends. It is a dangerous behavior and can be a deadly pattern. It leads to numerous health concerns both physically and mentally. It can irreparably change the brain, cause memory loss and lead to poor decision making skills. While many binge drinkers experience shakiness, poor coordination, nausea and vomiting, even more concerning physical problems can exist although some may hide beneath the surface initially, causing binge drinkers not to realize that they are harming their bodies.
Binge drinking can lead to the following physical health concerns.
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver damage
- Poor diabetes control
- Sexual dysfunction
In addition, those who binge drink are likely to be involved in car crashes, falls and other injuries due to slowed response time and blurred vision. Women who binge drink when pregnant put their child at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Men and women who engage in unprotected sexual intercourse following binge drinking are at risk for STDs. In 2010, it was reported that binge drinking caused $191 billion in health care costs in the United States.