The Truth about Binge Drinking
In A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson famously proclaims, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Well, it seems most people can’t handle the truth about binge drinking.
Often dismissed as “just a phase,” or “all young people drink like that,” the dangers of binge drinking are conveniently swept under the rug. Well, I’d like to shed some light on the deadly phenomenon of binge drinking.
There’s a world of misunderstanding surrounding binge drinking facts, statistics, and binge drinking effects. The first step to fighting the ignorance surrounding binge drinking is to learn real binge drinking facts.
Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a pattern of drinking which raises an individual’s blood alcohol concentration to .08. This takes, on average, four drinks for women and five drinks for men.
Of course, factors like weight, how quickly the drinks are consumed, and how much someone’s had to eat all play a part. Still, four drinks for women and five drinks for men is the agreed upon threshold for what constitutes binge drinking.
Before we go any further, let’s look at some true binge drinking facts.
Binge Drinking Facts
Find six binge drinking facts below:
• Binge drinking occurs most frequency among those in the eighteen to thirty-four year old age bracket.
• However, those sixty-five and older report binge drinking more often – an alarming five to six times per month.
• Despite common belief otherwise, most of those who engage in binge drinking are not considered alcoholics.
• The term “extreme drinking” is a form of binge drinking in which an individual has ten or more drinks in a two to three hour period.
• Heavy binge drinking produces symptoms similar to those seen in Korsakoff’s syndrome, also known as wet brain.
• During pregnancy, short-term binge drinking is more damaging to the fetus than average, extended alcohol use.
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Binge Drinking Statistics
Find five binge drinking statistics below:
• Approximately 90% of the alcohol consumed by those under twenty-one is consumed while binge drinking.
• One in six individuals who engage in binge drinking do so, on average, four times per month. During these binges, they consumer approximately eight drinks.
• While binge drinking is thought to occur only in colleges, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve individuals twenty-six years and older.
• Over 50% of the alcohol consumed in the Unite States is in the form of binge drinks.
• Of excessive drinkers, 92% admit to binge drinking during the past month.
Now that we’ve looked at some realistic, and frankly some concerning, binge drinking statistics, let’s turn our attention to binge drinking effects.
Binge Drinking Effects
The effects of binge drinking vary in range from mild to life threatening. One thing we can all agree on is that binge drinking brings with it a host of unintended side effects.
It’s worth noting that several of these binge drinking effects are similar in nature to binge drinking statistics. However, these statistics examine the cost of binge drinking, rather than simply its prevalence.
• Binge drinking is a significant risk factor for suicide.
• Men who have over thirty-five drinks per week often report being physically hurt due to their alcohol consumption.
• 15% of men who have more than thirty-five drinks per week report physically hurting others as a result of their alcohol consumption.
• Approximately 16% of individuals who binge drink report being sexually taken advantage of.
• Approximately 8% of individuals who binge drink report sexually abusing someone else as a result of alcohol.
• Domestic binge drinking effects include: increased odds of divorce, domestic or spousal abuse, and increased stress.
• Health binge drinking effects include: atypical cardiac rhythm, heart disease, increased blood pressure, decreased white blood cell activity, and decreased reproductive hormones for both men and women.