Binge drinking effects can be very real once you cross the line separating socializing from abuse.
Before we jump into the 6 signs of binge drinking, it’s helpful to review:
What is binge drinking? (As opposed to just having a good time?)
If you wanted to quantify it, binge drinking is consuming five alcoholic drinks within two hours for men, and four drinks within two hours for women.
Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women, and 15 or more drinks per week for men.
Younger people in high school and college are especially prone to binge drinking — about a third of high school seniors and 42% of college students binge drink on a regular basis.
6 signs of Dangerous Binge Drinking
If you’re wondering if you or someone you love is caught in a dangerous cycle of binge drinking, look for the following 6 signs:
- Overall, the individual takes more risks than they used to
- Larger quantities of alcohol are consumed more often than before
- The individual can’t to stop drinking at a “predecided limit”
- The individual blacks out after drinking
- The individual is becoming more negligent or lazy recently
- The individual’s close friends and family are concerned
Although most people associate binge drinking and binge drinking effects with high school and college students, binge drinking certainly isn’t limited to students.
One in six adults binge drink about four times per month.
Adults who make more than $75,000 and those over 65 years of age are more apt to binge drink.
Binge drinking can be very dangerous for two main reasons.
The first reason is that it can lead to fatal alcohol poisoning. This is when more alcohol is consumed than can be processed by the body, potentially causing loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest and death.
Many victims of alcohol poisoning die because they throw up while unconscious and choke on their own vomit.
The second main reason binge drinking is dangerous is because it is often combined with high-risk activities (especially in young people), including fatal falls, drowning, auto accidents and other poor judgement incidents such as acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
Binge drinking can also lead to being the victim or perpetrator of date rape or some other form of assault.
What does moderate drinking look like?
Moderate drinking is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
Binge Drinking Facts About Spring Break
It’s that time of year where college students head out with friends to take a break from studies and enjoy spring break. Although most college kids look forward to spring break, many parents feel unnerved by the events that they’ve heard can happen.
Chief among most concerns is binge drinking. It seems that college spring breakers and alcohol more often than not go hand in hand.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “four out of five college students drink alcohol. Half of these students that drink also binge drink, which is defined as consuming between 4 to 5 drinks in two hours.
This is a dangerous amount of alcohol and can have many health consequences if done on a regular basis. Alcohol abuse in college also accounts for 1,825 deaths and 599,000 assaults each year. Over 150,000 develop health related problems due to their drinking.”
So why are college students more likely to binge drink during spring break?
- Many spring break events, as previously mentioned, involve alcohol. Because students know they don’t have to be at class or work during the break, or simply because spring break is a “bigger party” than normal, students may tend to drink more than they otherwise would
- The easy access of alcohol, especially if college students travel out of the country to popular spring break spots, allows for more binge drinking
- Spring break can provide even more freedom than college students (who are already adjusting to new amounts of freedom) are used to back on campus. They may feel that if they are off campus and even further from “supervision” they can indulge even more.
Although, as a parent or loved one, you may not be able to control a college student’s binge drinking or other activities during spring break, you can take precautions not to encourage dangerous behaviors. If they take a vacation with friends, ask them to check in with you a few times so they know that you are thinking about them while they are away.
Just knowing that someone else is aware of them and hoping they will make good decisions can instill a desire to keep things in check.
Further, don’t fund trips or excursions that include individuals who may encourage your college student to binge drink or engage in other dangerous activities. College binge drinking is a serious concern and escalates during spring break but awareness and concern can help lead to more caution by those you love.
Additional Risks of Binge Drinking
It’s pretty common for many people to drink more heavily during the holiday season. In our previous post, we discussed holiday-related depression for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. With this post, we want to discuss the risks associated with heavy drinking. Our goal is to encourage people to drink responsibly, and not abuse alcohol or substances this holiday season.
According to the Center for Disease Control, heavy drinking (drinking more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women), or binge drinking (drinking five or more drinks during a single occasion for men or four or more drinks during a single occasion for women), can lead to increased risk of health problems such as liver disease or unintentional injuries.
In addition, a recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey has shown that more than half of U.S. adults drank alcohol in the past 30 days. The survey also shows that approximately 5 percent of the total population drank heavily, and 15 percent of the population had participated in binge drinking.
Finally, the most startling statistic is that from 2001 to 2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths in the U.S. each year due to excessive alcohol use. This was the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death of U.S. adults.
Our goal with this post was not to scare people, but to encourage people to drink responsibly, and in moderation this holiday season. We at Turning Point Centers, a Utah alcohol program, also want to promote the use of designated drivers, and to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy New Year.