According to the CDC, having four or more drinks in two hours or binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, though there are still serious health issues that may occur from binge drinking. Binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption can be life threatening.
Binge Drinking is associated with the following: Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, sexual assault, domestic violence, firearm injuries. It can cause alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, children born with fetal alcohol disorders, high blood pressure, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. Binge drinking can lead to liver disease, neurological damage, sexual dysfunction, or poor control of diabetes.
You may feel that a night out with your friends has no real implications besides the people taking care of you. This is untrue, and binge drinking costs everyone. For example binge drinking is responsible for 77% of the total cost of drinking too much in the United States for at total of $191 billion in 2010 which breaks down to $2.05 per drink. This number is calculated from the total loss in productivity, health care, crime, and other costs.
What is binge drinking?
For women: drinking 4 or more drinks in a single session OR 8 or more drinks per week.
What is a “drink”?
Who binge drinks?
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 US adults participates in binge drinking four times per month having approximately 8 drinks per binge. Binge drinking is commonly reported among 18-34 year olds, but more often among people 65 and older. Although college students may binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults over the age of 26. The prevalence of binge drinking is twice that of women. Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired than non-binge drinkers. More than half of the alcohol consumed in the US by adults is in the form of binge drinks.
Who shouldn’t drink?
– People younger than 21
– Pregnant or may be pregnant
– Driving, planning to drive, or participating in any other activity requiring coordination
– Taking any prescriptions including mental health medications
– Suffering from certain medical conditions
– Recovering from alcoholism
Mental Health and Binge Drinking:
Alcohol abuse results in a worse outcome for a person with mental illness. People who are using alcohol are less likely to follow up with their medication regimen. People with mental illnesses who abuse alcohol are at an increased risk of impulsivity and potentially violent acts. They are more likely to attempts suicide or die from their suicide attempts. Alcohol is a depressant, and may counteract the medication used to treat certain mental illnesses.
Where can I get help?
St. Catherine University Health and Wellness Clinic & Counseling Center both offer a wide variety of resources. Public safety offers emergency assistance. And remember, do not hesitate to call 911 if someone is in immediate danger. Talk with a close friend, family member, or someone you trust if you believe you are developing a dependence to alcohol.