Binge Drinking Facts

Alcohol is a popular substance used around the world. It is consumed socially in many cultures and this has been the case throughout history. Alcohol was also used for medicinal purposes throughout most of history. The fermentation process was then discovered when people noticed that rice, potatoes, grapes, and other fruits would ferment into an alcoholic beverage if left alone for too long. 

This is a way to celebrate events and it was a part of social functions as well. Today it remains a huge part of our culture even though there are some negative consequences that come with excessive drinking or binge drinking. 

The facts about binge drinking show us that this can be very dangerous behavior if it occurs too frequently or if someone drinks so much that they pass out. It can be very harmful to people’s health, especially if binge drinking is done over a short period of time on a regular basis. Oftentimes this form of excessive drinking is considered an addiction which means it may have personal and professional consequences for someone who engages in it frequently.

In fact, one study reports that 14% of Americans engage in binge drinking at least once a week. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has identified an emerging trend that it has labeled “High-Intensity Drinking.” The definition of High-Intensity Drinking (HID) includes the consumption of “alcohol at levels that are two or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds”.

The facts about binge drinking are important for anyone who drinks alcohol or cares about someone who does.  We need to understand more about this behavior so that we can help people avoid its negative effects.  It is also necessary for us to know what might cause someone to engage in this behavior too often or at inappropriate times.

Every day, 261 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use. 80% of these deaths involve adults aged 35 or older. Alcohol causes 10% of deaths among 15- to 49-year-olds.

What Defines Binge Drinking?

The facts behind binge drinking are sometimes controversial. Some say that binge drinking facts show it is a way to reduce overall alcohol consumption by all drinkers, not just youth. Alcohol has been around for many years and most people have started to drink at some point in their life. 

Binge drinking can be classified by the following:

Boys:

  • 9 to 13 years old: Approximately 3 drinks
  • 14 to 15 years old: Approximately 4 drinks
  • 16 to 17 years old: Approximately 5 drinks

Girls:

  • 9 to 17 years old: Approximately 3 drinks

Binge drinking facts show that men have a higher risk of having liver disease by the time they hit their 30’s; women on the other hand are more likely to suffer from heart damage because high alcohol intake accelerates atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries.

How Common is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking has become more prevalent than it once was due to its rise on college campuses and overall accessibility. The increase of this hazardous behavior among 18 to 25-year-olds can be attributed to higher levels of stress and anxiety brought on by career expectations, social norms, and financial instability.

How Does Alcohol Impact the Brain?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and imposes short-term effects. Alcohol facts show that some of these enzymes can function at a rate that is 10 times more than regular levels. This is why it takes longer for an individual who drinks to become intoxicated, and alcohol facts show that this may explain why chronic drinkers can drink large amounts of alcohol without exhibiting the signs and symptoms of intoxication.

Why Do People Engage in Binge Drinking?

People engage in binge drinking because they want to become intoxicated quickly and feel less inhibited after consuming large quantities of alcohol. Alcohol facts show that people who experience frequent hangovers may be susceptible to more intense withdrawal symptoms compared to those who only experience one or two hangovers per month. 

Hangover symptoms can include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

People may also engage in binge drinking due to peer pressure and ease of availability of alcohol; facts about binge drinking show that many young people drink with their peers because they want to seem sophisticated and fit in with the crowd.

These facts on binge drinking show that people don’t need to exhibit signs such as nausea, vomiting, and extreme confusion for them to be at risk of getting hurt. Binge drinkers might get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated or expose themselves to unplanned sexual activity during this time.

How Binge Drinking is Affecting Youths

Binge drinking is influential on teenagers because their brains are not fully developed. In fact, teenagers have less gray matter which is responsible for muscle coordination and control of emotions. In 2019, about 24.6 percent of 14- to 15-year-olds reported having at least 1 drink. In 2019, 7.0 million young people ages 12 to 20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.

Another risk factor for teens who engage in binge drinking is that it can induce hypoglycemia or a reduction in blood sugar levels. This condition is known as a “blackout” where a person will lose his or her memory temporarily, usually for several hours after being intoxicated. 1.7% of 12- to 17-year-olds have AUD. Females aged 12 to 17 years are 61.5% more likely to have AUD than their male peers.

What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Binge Drinking?

The difference between an alcohol use disorder and binge drinking is that an alcohol use disorder is a pattern of drinking that causes impairment. It can lead to health problems, disability, and/or death from mental, emotional, or physical problems caused by your drinking. Binge drinkers often drink to get drunk rather than to enjoy the taste of their beverage. 

Binge drinking typically happens when someone exceeds:

  • Four drinks in two hours for men
  • Five drinks in two hours for women

What are the Potential Dangers of Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking facts indicate that over time, excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing serious health complications. Binge drinking can leave you prone to accidents, injuries, fights, and alcohol poisoning.

Some possible risks include:

  • Liver disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Binge drinking facts also indicate that people who are already at risk for certain medical conditions are more likely to develop severe health risks while binge drinking. Pregnant women, senior citizens, and anyone with a family history of alcoholism should avoid any amount of alcohol consumption.

What are the Causes of Binge Drinking and Why Do People Struggle With This Issue?

The causes of binge drinking may vary from person to person but may include factors such as lack of self-confidence, depression, or anxiety. 

The facts related to binge drinking are shocking. If you have a problem with this issue, help is available. Alcohol is often used as a coping mechanism and some people might not be aware of the risks and dangers associated with it. Studies show that approximately 79% of students aged 18 to 24 years drink alcohol, while an estimated 50% of underage drinkers typically engage in binge drinking.

People don’t always recognize the facts about binge drinking, causing them to continue engaging in this dangerous activity without understanding how it affects their health and safety. When a person drinks excessively on a single occasion, they’re binge drinking. 

Long Term Effects of Binge Drinking

The long-term effects of binge drinking can be severe and lead to health problems such as alcohol poisoning, liver damage, and brain damage. These long-term effects can include:

  • Alcohol dependence: Binge drinking increases the risk for alcohol dependence and future binge drinking
  • Poor academic performance: One study found that college students who engaged in binge drinking were twice as likely to drop out of school than their non-binge drinking peers 
  • Injuries from falls or car crashes: Drinking excessive amounts increases the likelihood of incurring an injury from a fall or a car crash due to making bad decisions or losing coordination while intoxicated
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual encounters, can lead to unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. The risk of being a victim of sexual assault is increased in individuals who abuse alcohol, especially during episodes of binge drinking.
  • Memory blackouts are gaps in memory caused by heavy drinking that the drinker may not remember the next day. This often occurs when blood alcohol concentration levels reach 0.15% or higher.
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, and liver damage: studies have linked heavy drinking with an increased risk for high blood pressure and heart complications

Is There Treatment for Binge Drinking?

There are treatment methods for binge drinking. One method involves a technique called motivational interviewing, which helps the individual reduce their alcohol intake. If you find yourself binge drinking and losing control, it would be wise to consider alcohol addiction treatment. 

Depending on the severity of your case, you may find a treatment option that is suitable for your needs through the continuum of care. Psychotherapy is a fundamental part of the continuum of care, as it provides recovering individuals with the tools to understand their psychological motivations for substance use.

This can include detoxification, which is the process of ridding the body of toxins from substance abuse. This is typically the first phase of addiction treatment. Medication-assisted treatment can be provided for those who need assistance with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

Residential treatment is another option available for those who need an intensive approach to addiction treatment. Lacking a support system can influence your decision to enter residential treatment, where 24/7 medical assistance is provided alongside other amenities. Residential treatment programs are best suited for those with moderate to severe cases of substance abuse.

Outpatient treatment is a flexible format of addiction treatment for those who can’t commit to residential treatment. Outpatient treatment is best suited for those with mild to moderate cases of addiction. One of the key benefits of outpatient treatment is the opportunity to receive treatment yet the chance to come back home and practice what you’ve learned. Outpatient treatment is generally more affordable compared to residential treatment. 

Aftercare programs can include relapse prevention programs, support groups, and sober living homes. The recovery process is ongoing and those who embrace the everlasting journey typically remain sober in the long run. 

Tips and Tricks to Manage your Drinking

There are several tips and tricks to manage your drinking in a healthy manner. Some tips include finding ways to decrease the likelihood of over-consumption, drinking responsibly in social situations, and avoiding high-risk situations that often lead to binge drinking. Maintaining a journal of all of your drinking can also help you determine how much alcohol you are actually consuming.

If you intend to drink, it’s best to drink water before and after the consumption. Make sure to eat something beforehand as well. Educate yourself about the effects of alcohol in order to best prepare yourself for potential binging. It could help to discuss these challenges with your therapist or a close friend to hold you accountable.

Enter a New Phase of Health with North Jersey Rehabs

Entering rehab for substance abuse can be frightening at times but the opportunity to grow from this place can be transformative. When you embrace the motivation to commit to these lifelong goals, your chances for recovery improve. Despite the challenges ahead, alcohol addiction and binge drinking behaviors can be overcome. 

North Jersey Rehabs works with your strengths to iron out your weaknesses. Through our trained medical staff and support from those on a similar path, you can witness your rebirth. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us today.

 

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