The Dangers of Binge Drinking
Drinking alcohol is a popular activity, and many people like to do it to relax and have fun. Those who drink legally, carefully, and in moderation shouldn’t have any problems with alcohol. However, there are many people who misuse alcohol, with potentially dangerous consequences. Binge drinking, or drinking heavily in a short period of time, can cause health problems. It can also lead to legal problems if drinking and driving are combined; a DUI/OVI can have devastating effects for you and others involved.
What Is Binge Drinking?
The definition of binge drinking used to be heavy drinking that spanned several days. However, the definition has been modified to focus on drinking alcohol heavily over a short period of time. Men who drink five or more drinks in a row and women who drink four or more drinks in a row at least once in a two-week period are engaging in binge drinking. Binge drinking three or more times in a two-week period is considered heavy binge drinking.
Why Binge Drink?
Marketing makes drinking alcohol seem fun and appealing. It’s easy for almost anyone paying attention to get the message that drinking is attractive, and high school students can be particularly susceptible to this type of marketing message. If you add peer pressure to marketing tactics, it can be even harder for teenagers to resist the urge to drink. It’s also typical for people to be curious about drinking alcohol; they may be looking for ways to reduce stress, or they may think that drinking alcohol will make them feel older and more mature.
Binge Drinking Risks
Binge drinking can have many negative effects, starting with the regrettable or dangerous actions you might take while drunk. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also often makes people sick to the point of throwing up, and feeling hung over and sick the next day is typical. When you’re under the influence of alcohol, it’s difficult to concentrate, you may not remember everything you do, and you’ll likely experience mood changes. Binge drinking can also have long-term effects on your health, relationships, and finances.
Drinking a large quantity of alcohol can lead to a potentially life-threatening situation called alcohol poisoning. When this happens, the body’s involuntary reflexes, such as breathing and the gag reflex, stop working properly. A person with alcohol poisoning can choke to death on their own vomit. Signs of alcohol poisoning include confusion, inability to be awakened, slow or irregular breathing, a low body temperature, very pale or bluish skin tone, and seizures. If alcohol poisoning is suspected, dial 911 right away.
Binge drinking causes a person’s judgment to become impaired, so drinkers tend to take risks that they wouldn’t even consider when they’re sober. This can include driving drunk, which can lead to serious accidents, injuries, and DUI/OVI arrests. Impaired judgment can also lead to risky personal decisions such as having unprotected sex, which can result in sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
Teenagers who binge drink often during high school are more likely to gain weight. They are also more likely to have a weight problem and have high blood pressure by age 24. Alcohol is high in calories: One beer has about 150 calories, and that can add up quickly if you’re drinking multiple drinks in one sitting.
People who drink a lot and drink often during high school may be more likely to drop out of school. Drinking disrupts sleep patterns, so it’s harder to focus and stay awake in class during the day. Difficulty concentrating often causes grades to drop. Heavy drinking also affects your personality, causing you to be moody. This can lead to the loss of friends.
Researchers exploring binge drinking have conducted studies indicating that people who binge drink regularly (three or more drinking episodes in a two-week period) often have symptoms of alcoholism. Left unchecked, alcoholism typically gets more serious over time.
Additional Resources on Binge Drinking
- Binge Drinking
- What Is Binge Drinking?
- Drinking Levels Defined
- Overview of Binge Drinking
- Moderate Drinking Compared to Binging
- Binge Drinking
- Binge Drinking vs. Alcoholism: Key Differences
- What Happens to Your Body When You Binge Drink
- College Students and the Dangers of Binge Drinking
- What is Binge Drinking, and How Does it Affect Your Health?
- When Does Binge Drinking Become a Problem?
- How Much Is Too Much?
- Binge Drinking
- Binge Drinking Statistics and Effects
- The Distinction Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism