The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking “as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above.” This definition typically translates to about five or more drinks for a man and four or more drinks for a woman in about two hours.
Even though binge drinkers are rarely classified as having severe alcohol abuse disorder, metabolizing a high volume of alcohol at once is very hard on the body. As a result, binge drinkers can put their health and bodies in more danger than someone who has one drink a day.
Research shows that many Americans engage in binge drinking. A 2019 national survey on drug use and health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 24% of Americans ages 12 and older said they had engaged in binge drinking during the past month. That equals about 66 million people.
The good news is that the number of preteens, teens, and young adults engaging in binge drinking has decreased. However, binge drinking remains prevalent among younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Meanwhile, adults 65 and up and women have seen increased numbers, according to the SAMHSA study.
Almost half of the 95,000 deaths from alcohol misuse in the U.S. between 2011 and 2015 were associated with binge drinking. What’s more, even one binge-drinking episode can impact how the immune system functions and inflame the pancreas.
Over time, continued binge drinking can result in liver disease and other chronic illnesses. This pattern of drinking may also increase a person’s risk of various cancers, including liver, breast, and colorectal cancers.
Other dangers associated with binge drinking can include:
The effects of binge drinking may appear differently in different people. Any drinking that impacts a person’s job, school, or life is considered a problem. Other signs that binge drinking may be an issue include:
Most binge drinkers are not dependent on alcohol. However, they may be at an increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD), especially teens who binge drink. Teens who binge on alcohol triple their chances of developing AUD in the future.
Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center was founded by people who have recovered from drug and alcohol challenges. We know how devastating binge drinking can be. That’s why we created a wide range of recovery programs that include proven clinical and medical approaches and techniques to help people recover. Our programs begin and end with the most crucial ingredients: love, empathy, and guidance for the future. Contact us today to learn more.