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Binge Drinking: The Beginning Of A Problem

By April 14, 2022August 31st, 2023Sober living

Binge drinking raises alcohol levels in the blood quickly, causing stress and strain on the body. While a single episode of binge drinking has a low likelihood of creating long-term health complications, repeated binge drinking will have long-term effects. A binge drinker is someone who drinks far more in a short period than is typically safe. This can be measured by the amount consumed in any one session, either measured in drinks or grams of alcohol.

The lack of sleep worsens your depressive systems, so you turn to alcohol again. Pregnant women who binge drink can affect their child’s physical and cognitive development. A child with FASD might experience heart or bone problems, reduced attention span and memory, or learning disabilities. Research suggests that alcohol consumption is also a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome.

Sudden death

Nine out of 10 binge drinkers aren’t dependent on alcohol, but doctors and scientists think they’re more likely to develop alcohol use disorder. While this is primarily caused by alcohol poisoning, death can also occur due to injuries, accidents or even homicide. Binge drinking may conjure an image of a drunken party in a college frat house.

is binge drinking alcoholism

If you feel that you sometimes drink too much alcohol, or your drinking is causing problems, or if your family is concerned about your drinking, talk with your health care provider. Other ways to get help include talking with a mental health professional or seeking help from a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar type of self-help group. Most American adults drink alcohol at least occasionally, but about 1 in 4 knock back several drinks in a short period of time at least once a year.

Key Differences Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism

This figure includes workplace productivity, health care expenditures, criminal justice costs, and other expenses. Though there are both similarities and differences between binge drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder, it is crucial to understand that they both can be detrimental to one’s health. If you feel like you are struggling with either disorder or any form of alcohol misuse, seek the help necessary to get you the proper treatment and into recovery. When engaging in binge drinking, there are risks that most often involve an individual’s safety. As binge drinking means consuming mass amounts of alcohol, individuals can become severely impaired and put themselves at risk for both physical and non-physical injuries.

How long do binge drinkers live?

The teetotaler (0 drinks/week) and the excessive drinker (8+ drinks/week) were projected to live to 92 and 93 years old, respectively. The same person having one drink per week was projected to live to 94, and the moderate drinker (2-7 drinks/week) was projected to live 95 years.

Alcohol abuse can affect brain structure development, so people who start binge drinking as teens or young adults may experience issues with learning and concentrating. Binge drinking involves a pattern of short but heavy bursts of alcohol use. When you drink like this, you consume enough alcohol over the course of two hours to raise your blood alcohol concentration to the legal limit of intoxication (0.08 percent in the U.S.) or higher.

Speak to an addiction specialist now

Watching a friend or family member struggle with a binge-drinking habit can be difficult, even heart-wrenching. You’ll likely be there to witness their most reckless behavior, painful hangovers, and their sense of shame and depression afterwards. It might seem convenient when you have company over, but it also makes it easier to reach for multiple drinks while you’re alone. If you do end up storing alcohol at home, keep in the back of the fridge or in the basement—somewhere out of immediate sight. Therefore, drinking more water won’t necessarily protect you from a hangover the next day. The only sure way to reduce or avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol.

  • After you sober up, you may make promises to better manage your behavior while under the influence or your drinking levels in the future, but you later break those promises.
  • You might arrive at a friend’s party in an upbeat and energized mood, but by the end of the night, you’re feeling sick and regretting your decisions.
  • Many of us enjoy drinking on occasion, but if you binge drink you consume enough in just a short period to be considered legally intoxicated—five or more drinks in two hours if you’re a man, four or more if you’re a woman.
  • It’s easy for high school and college students to get caught up in a social scene with lots of peer pressure.

Though binge drinking is dangerous and poses many risks, alcohol addiction treatment and recovery must be handled with a different approach. Where those who binge drink may not have an addiction, those with AUD may often engage in binge drinking, especially as their dependency on alcohol grows. Most chronic binge drinkers do not meet the definition for alcoholism, but they are still at risk of Alcohol Use Disorder, and their overall health can suffer. For example, these individuals will most likely develop a very high tolerance to alcohol, needing more and more alcohol to feel intoxicated though they may not yet have an addiction. This leads to them consistently upping their alcohol intake during each binge leading the cycle to continue the more they partake in this behavior, even though they may be able to stop during the week. In most states, an individual is considered legally intoxicated if he or she has a BAC of .08 percent or higher.

Individuals of African descent have a lower level of binge drinking followed by those of Asian descent. People who are homozygous for the ALDH2 gene are less likely to binge-drink due to severe adverse effects that occur even with moderate amounts of alcohol consumption. Data suggest that even one episode of binge drinking can compromise function of the immune system and lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Binge drinking can lead to several short-term and long-term effects. Someone who binge drinks may experience impaired judgment, nausea, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Over time, a binge drinker is at a higher risk for severe health problems such as liver disease, pancreatitis, and certain types of cancers.

is binge drinking alcoholism

That increase may be contributing to the increasing rates of alcohol-related illnesses and death. About 17% of U.S. adults report binge drinking in the past year. Binge drinking frequency decreases with age but remains common among older adults.