There has been a rise in the consumption of alcohol in people from various age groups and especially college students. Most shocking of all the information obtained from various binge drinking statistics is that alcoholism is on a rise in children. The problem of alcoholism is prevalent in the society from ages. However, it is the habit of excess consumption that makes the problem even worse.
One of the reasons for rise in alcohol consumption is increasing levels of stress in our lives. Alcohol is often consumed in order to forget the impending problems and mounting stress levels. However, in reality, problems are not solved by running away from them. The social implications of binge drinking need to be considered because, such habits not only affect the addicts, but also have a negative impact on their close ones. It is therefore, necessary to understand the problem of binge from the point of view of both health and social life.
What is Binge Drinking?
Heavy consumption of alcohol, approximately 5 standard drinks (for men) and 4 drinks (for women) is considered to be a 'binge'. However, there is no standard definition of the word 'binge drinking'. The drinking becomes binge drinking if a large amount of alcohol is consumed in a short span of time. The same number of drinks if consumed over a long course of time do not make for a binge drink.
The British Medical Association describes binge drinking as follows: 'In common usage, binge drinking is now usually used to refer to heavy drinking over an evening or similar time span - sometimes also referred to as heavy episodic drinking. Binge drinking is often associated with drinking with the intention of becoming intoxicated and sometimes, also associated with drinking in large groups.'
Facts about Binge Drinking
The practice of binge drinking alcoholism or simply binge drinking is a serious problem in most of the developed countries. As per the studies conducted by 'Alcohol Concern', a national agency in Britain, the United Kingdom tops the chart of heaviest alcohol consumers or binge drinkers in Europe. The commonly accepted description/definition of binge drinking in USA is that of consuming 4-5 drinks in a row. When a person binge drinks for minimum 3 times in a period of 2 weeks, the practice is referred to as heavy binge drinking.
The following binge drinking facts would help in providing insight into this dangerous habit of alcohol abuse.
- It is seen that binge drinkers do not consume alcohol everyday. The frequency of drinking among binge drinkers is twice a week. An interesting fact about these drinkers is that they may not be suffering from a binge drinking addiction.
- Most of the binge drinkers are from the age group of 18-22 years and many of them are college students.
- The health problems associated with this habit are binge drinking alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, liver disease, neurological damage, intentional or unintentional injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome are harmful since the brain structure of the fetus is affected due to this syndrome.
- One of the most important facts about binge drinking found in a survey conducted in Britain is that 1 out of 4 people in the country is a binge drinkers. As per the reports of BUPA, a healthcare company, there are around 11 million binge drinkers in Britain.
- Around 20-30% of the road accidents are caused due to binge drinking. Drunken drivers not only harm themselves, but also pose a major risk to other motorists and pedestrians on the road.
- Binge drinking is also associated with crimes. Drunken violence accounts for 76,000 facial injuries every year in Britain. It is seen that 50% of the street crimes and 33% burglaries are associated with binge drinkers.
- Binge drinking leads to dehydration and affects the health of the skin. Dehydration results into the skin losing its supply of vital nutrients.
- The process of mental deterioration, known as dementia is accelerated by the consumption of alcohol. In fact, it is the second-leading reason behind the cause of dementia.
- In the year 1995, as many as 318 binge drinking deaths took place in the US and most of those who died in these alcohol poisoning cases belonged the age group of 15-24 years. Most of these deaths took place after a heavy dose of alcohol during a night binge.
- Binge drinking was responsible for 15,935 road accidents that took place in the year 1998 in America.
- In the United Kingdom, it is found that school kids as young as eight years of age consume alcohol and face difficulties in maintaining concentration levels in their classes, which results from hangovers. The number of school children involved in assaults (associated with alcohol-intoxication) too is increasing at an alarming rate.
- Girls from middle-class families indulge in binge drinking excessively in comparison to those from poor families. It is seen that girls consume alcohol in a greater proportion as compared to boys by the time they reach 14 years of age.
Binge Drinking among College Students
The problem of binge drinking is serious in colleges across the US and also in many countries of Europe. The legal drinking age in US is 21 years. However, most of the college students suffer from alcohol addiction which shows that this age limit is defied in most cases. In the year 2003, the percentage of first-semester boys and girls who binged at least twice a week was 41 and 34 respectively.
As per the studies made by Harvard School of Public Health, binge drinking is the cause behind a lot of problems including unintentional injuries, unsafe sexual activity, physical ailments, etc. Binge drinking in college students is especially harmful because it leads to crimes, loss of interest in studies and road accidents.
The facts presented in the article above, give us an idea of the dangers of heavy alcohol consumption. Binge drinking not only impacts our health negatively but also pollutes the social atmosphere. One should therefore, try to avoid binge drinking and lead a healthy and stress free life.