What constitutes binge drinking and what are the impacts
Binge drinking (also called heavy episodic drinking, risky single occasion drinking etc.) is a major public health problem. Binge drinking often occurs at weekends. Binge drinking increases the risk of both acute (e.g. injuries) and long-term negative consequences (e.g. alcohol disorders). Stress, anxiety, traumatic events and depression are also related to binge drinking. Both alcohol-related behaviour of parents and general parenting (e.g. parenting styles, monitoring) are also important. Other major risk factors for binge drinking are frequently spending time with friends who drink, and the drinking norms observed in the wider social environment (e.g. sporting clubs, community, culture) and the workplace serve as settings for binge drinking.
NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.
People who binge drink:
• don’t necessarily drink every day
• may not know their own limits
• may not mean to drink a lot
• might feel peer pressured to drink large amounts
• might feel awkward in social situations when they aren’t drinking.
Why binge drinking is bad for you ?
Binge drinking, even one night a week, can have some pretty nasty consequences.
Short-term effects include:
• hangovers (bad ones)
• nausea while drinking and the next day
• memory loss
Other potential risks include:
• problems with self-esteem
• feeling regretful all the time
• getting involved with unsafe activities
• having unprotected sex.
Alcohol is also a major cause of injury and death among young people. When you’re drunk, you’re more likely to put yourself in risky situations, such as getting into a car with a driver who’s been drinking or ending up in a physical fight.
Long-term effects include:
• problems at school, at work and with relationships
• risk of emotional and mental health problems developing, such as depression and anxiety
• physical and psychological dependence on alcohol
• significant damage to the brain and liver
• risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breasts
• possible increased risk of neurological disorders or heart problems
• sexual problems (especially male impotency).
If you or a family member are concerned about your binge drinking, Help is as close as a phone call. Call the Binge drinking expert! John Arber for an obligation free, confidential non-judgmental chat. 0418 720 176.