Binge drinking is fast becoming one of the major health issues in the US. Most people who indulge in binge drinking are ignorant about the grave dangers that it poses to their body in the long run. It can develop from ‘occasional’ binge drinking to full-blown alcoholism.
Binge drinking is often described as ‘drinking too much’. While it doesn’t have a universal measuring system, in the US, for men it is having more than five standard drinks, and for women it is having more than four standard drinks in a short span of time (around two hours). About 70 % college students have admitted that they have indulged in binge drinking at least once. Youngsters consider binge drinking as a part of modern culture and fun. The parties that the teenagers flock to often have binge drinking competitions, like beer pongs and doing kegstands. While all this may feel at the time, it can lead to alcohol addiction later in life.
Binge Drinking – The Statistics
- Binge drinking among adults in the year 2009 was about 15.2 %.
- Around 70% of the binge drinking episodes involve adults 26 years and older.
- Men often indulge in binge drinking more as compared to women.
- Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.
- About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
- About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
- The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18 to 20 year age group (51%).
(Source : US Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
Related Health Issues
- Alcohol Poisoning – Drinking too much of alcohol depresses nerves that control body functions like breathing and gag reflex. Alcohol is an irritant to the stomach and a person who has had too much of it, tends to vomit it and if the person is intoxicated he/she may accidentally choke on vomit. This can lead to death by asphyxiation.
- Liver Diseases – Binge drinking causes cirrhosis of liver, that is, the liver is covered with scar tissues. If the drinking habits are not curbed, then it can reach a stage where there is no cure. Besides, it also causes other liver diseases.
- Accidents – Drinking and driving is dangerous, as studies prove that alcohol features in about 20-30% of all the accidents. If you just had a heavy session of drinking and are behind the wheels, you will tend to do things which you will never do when you are sober. Drunken drivers are also a danger for pedestrians and other vehicles, as chances are that the person will doze off while driving.
- Crime – In the 33% burglaries and 50% street crimes, attackers are found to be in inebriated condition. Also, violence in binge drinking parties is becoming a common occurrence these days.
- Teenagers indulge in binge drinking more often than any other age group, and are exposed to it at a very early age. So, one of the preventive measures can be to limit the access to alcohol in college, by having fewer stores selling alcohol near the college campus.
- Making youngsters aware about the ill-effects of binge drinking can be very important to dispel ignorance about the subject.
- Proper screening and counseling sessions can also help in rehabilitation of those who have fallen off the wagon.
- Non government organizations can conduct seminars about binge drinking facts, which can not only help youngsters but even the parents to keep a watchful eye on their kids.
Binge drinking in today’s culture is thought of a fun activity, and a person is advised to sleep off the intoxication. It can even cause alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. So, if your friend has had too much to drink and passes out, do not assume it as just one of his hangovers, instead, check for the symptoms and call a doctor if necessary.