Binge Drinking Facts: What Is It and How Does It Affect People?
Because alcohol is a legal substance, it’s also one of the most used and abused substances. One common way that people like to abuse alcohol is through binge drinking. While many people may think binge drinking is harmless, it can actually cause serious health issues. Learn more binge drinking facts here.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking occurs when a person drinks enough alcohol to cause his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) to reach 0.08% or more. This is significant because adults that are 21 years of age or older can get arrested for having a BAC that is 0.08% or higher. This is due to the fact that the BAC that a person reaches while binge drinking is also the BAC that is illegal to drive while under the influence. This further indicates how dangerous binge drinking is.
Binge Drinking Facts
To achieve a BAC of 0.08%, men need to drink around five or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours, and women need to drink around four or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours. While this may seem like a large amount of alcohol to consume in such a short amount of time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month and consumes around seven drinks each time they binge drink.
Binge drinking is most common amongst young adults between the ages of 18-34. In fact, according to the Clinical Psychology Review, approximately 40% of college students binge drink.
While binge drinking is most common amongst young adults between the ages of 18-34, more than half of binge drinks are consumed by adults that are of age 35 or older. This shows that binge drinking is an issue amongst all Americans.
While many people assume that people of lower socioeconomic status binge drink the most, this isn’t the case. In fact, according to the CDC, people with high education levels and a household income of $75,000 or more are the biggest culprits of binge drinking.
Binge Drinking vs. Alcohol Dependence vs. Alcoholism
While binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse, there is a difference between binge drinking and alcohol dependence or alcoholism. Alcohol dependence is characterized by experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever one minimizes or discontinues their alcohol use. According to a 2014 CDC report, of the adults that reported binge drinking 10 or more times a month, more than two-thirds didn’t suffer from alcohol dependence.
Alcoholism is characterized by alterations in a person’s brain chemistry due to alcohol use. Most people experience alcohol dependency before they experience alcoholism. Thus, it’s not surprising that most people that binge drink also don’t suffer from alcohol use disorders.
Despite binge drinking being separate from alcohol dependency and alcoholism, it’s still a form of alcohol abuse that people should be wary of. This is because continuous binge drinking can easily turn into alcohol dependency or addiction.
Side Effects of Binge Drinking
To have a good understanding of binge drinking facts, you should understand the side effects of binge drinking. Some of the side effects of binge drinking are short-term while others are long-term.
Common Short-Term Side Effects of Binge Drinking
- Poor motor control
- Slow reaction time
- Shorter attention span
- Low blood pressure
- Slower breathing
- Miscarriages or stillbirths amongst pregnant women
- Alcohol poisoning
Common Long-Term Side Effects of Binge Drinking
Over time, binge drinking can cause a person to experience serious, long-term health issues. Some of the common long-term side effects of binge drinking include:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Trouble sleeping
- Social isolation
- Mental health issues
- Loss of brain volume in younger individuals
- Weakened immune systems
- Heart disease
- Liver problems
- Increased chances of developing throat, breast, esophagus, or colon cancer
- Risky behavior (can result in STDs and unplanned pregnancy)
Why People Binge Drink
Many factors influence why a person chooses to binge drink. Some of the most common factors include:
- They desire to experience the euphoric effects that alcohol use causes
- Peer pressure by family and friends to drink more
- To cope with mental illnesses or other negative emotions
- They have a family history of binge drinking
More Binge Drinking Facts
The effects of binge drinking not only take a toll on the individuals doing the drinking, but it also takes a toll on society as a whole. In fact, in 2010, binge drinking cost the United States $249 billion due to losses in workplace productivity, health care expenditures, criminal justice costs, and other expenses.
Treatment for Binge Drinking and Alcoholism at Little Creek Recovery
No level of alcohol abuse is safe. Thus, individuals that chronically binge drink may want to look into receiving some sort of treatment for alcohol abuse, especially if they feel that their binge drinking is turning into alcohol dependency or addiction. Men who suffer from alcohol dependence or alcoholism due to binge drinking can receive inpatient addiction treatment here at Little Creek Recovery.
Little Creek Recovery is an addiction treatment center that specializes in treating male patients. Thus, our inpatient rehab programs are for men-only. Women who want to take advantage of the rehab services here at Little Creek can attend one of our outpatient rehab programs.
What Makes Little Creek Recovery Different?
What separates us here at Little Creek Recovery from other addiction treatment centers? To start, it’s our commitment to building a strong foundation. Also, we emphasize integrating internalized recovery through therapeutic and 12-step models with a focus on the spiritual paradigm.
By utilizing the 12-step model and focusing on the spiritual paradigm, we treat the minds, bodies, and souls of our patients. This, in turn, helps our rehab patients more easily maintain long-term sobriety.
For any inquiries about our treatment programs for binge drinking, alcoholism, or any other substance use issue, contact us today! Our staff is more than willing to answer any questions that you may have.