Is Binge Drinking Dangerous?

Most American adults drink alcohol at least occasionally, but about 1 in 4 knocks back several drinks in a short period of time at least once a year. (A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.) Health officials define binge drinking as having enough to bring your blood-alcohol content up to the legal limit for driving.

That works out to about five for men or four for women in less than 2 hours. About 1 in 6 American adults say they regularly binge drink, sometimes several times a month. They typically have about seven drinks on these binges. Adults under 35 are more likely to do this than other age groups, and men are twice as likely as women. People who make more than $75,000 a year and are more educated are most likely to binge drink.

Is Binge Drinking Dangerous?

Who is at Risk of Being a Binge Drinker?

Anyone who consumes too much alcohol too quickly may be in danger of an alcohol overdose. This is especially true of individuals who engage in binge drinking, defined as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 percent or higher. This typically occurring after a woman consumes 4 drinks or a man consumes 5 drinks in about 2 hours; as well as extreme binge drinking (also known as high-intensity drinking), defined as drinking two or more times the binge-drinking thresholds for women and men.

Teenagers and young adults who drink may be at particular risk for alcohol overdose. Research shows that teens and college-age young adults often engage in binge drinking and extreme binge drinking (or high-intensity drinking). Drinking such large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s ability to break down and clear alcohol from the bloodstream. This leads to rapid increases in BAC and significantly impairs the brain and other bodily functions.

What are the Dangers of Binge Drinking?

According to the CDC, binge drinking is associated with many health problems including but not limited to the following: Unintentional injuries such as car crashes falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning. Violence including homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. Sexually transmitted diseases.

Unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Sudden infant death syndrome. Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Memory and learning problems. Alcohol dependence. The cost of binge drinking affects everyone in the United States.

Drinking too much, including binge drinking, cost the United States $249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 a drink. These costs resulted from losses in workplace productivity, health care expenditures, criminal justice costs, and other expenses. Binge drinking was responsible for 77% of these costs, or $191 billion. (CDC)

An alcohol overdose occurs when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control begin to shut down. Symptoms of alcohol overdose include mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizure, trouble breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking), and extremely low body temperature. Alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

Alcoholism Treatment at Garden State Treatment Center

Here at Garden State Treatment Center, we provide group therapy, individual addiction counseling, relapse prevention treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, 12 step addiction treatment and many other services that facilitate the recovery of yourself or a loved one.

We believe in treating the entire person, not just their addictions. We personalized their treatment plan based on their individual characteristics to provide a long-lasting and meaningful recovery. We strive to help our patients complete this program changed, firm, and prepared to begin a lifetime of recovery. We are ready to answer your questions when it comes to healing from substance abuse. Our admissions team is standing by for your call.