What is Binge Drinking - Short-term and Long-term Effects Explained
Binge drinking is one of the growing trends among youths across the world. People binge drink due to several reasons. Sometimes it is to avoid feeling awkward in a social setting, keep away from anxiety or due to peer pressure.
Nevertheless, binge drinking can lead to serious health conditions. Read on to know about the several impacts of this habit.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is when individuals consume large amounts of alcohol in a single session. The quantity of alcohol consumed brings the blood alcohol concentration or BAC to 0.08% or higher. Generally, this means five or more than five drinks for men and four or more drinks for women.
According to a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 90% of alcohol consumption among youths aged below 21 years of age in the United States involves binge drinking.
Though binge drinking is more common among youths between the age of 18 and 34 years, this trend is also growing among older adults.
What Are the Short-term Effects of Binge Drinking?
The various short-term effects of binge drinking are as follows:
- Massive headache due to excessive loss of fluid from the body through urination.
- Vomiting and nausea due to the delay in stomach acid production.
- Increased chances of diarrhoea, stomach ache and other gastrointestinal disorders.
- Alcohol poisoning which affects the involuntary reflexes of the body such as gag reflex and breathing.
- Loss of perception and coordination due to the interference of alcohol in the brain’s ability to communicate with rest of the body parts.
- Impaired judgement such as drunk driving and taking risks which they might not take when they are sober.
- Higher chances of injuries such as falls, car crashes and even death.
- Violence including sexual asault, homicide, partner abuse and homicide.
What Are the Long-term Effects of Binge Drinking?
If not taken care of at the right time, the dangers of binge drinking increase. Several long-term effects of binge drinking include –
- Weaker immune system
- Liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis
- Cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, stroke and heart diseases
- Digestive problems
- Certain types of cancers like mouth, oesophagus, throat, colon, breast and liver cancer
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Social problems like family issues and unemployment
Moreover, a study in 2017 suggests that the odds of developing AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) increases due to binge drinking.
How to Overcome Binge Drinking?
The following ways can help an individual control binge drinking –
- Talk with your doctor about your drinking problem and request assistance from a therapist.
- Ask your friends and family members to support you to avoid binge drinking.
- Find several activities to do instead of drinking alcohol.
- Set limits on where, when and how much to drink in a given time or an event.
- Consider quitting drinking altogether. In such scenarios, support programs and groups may be of great help.
Controlling binge drinking is very crucial as it can lead to several chronic diseases and other health conditions. The best solution to binge drinking is to get help. Try talking to someone you trust. If not your parents, consult with a school teacher, doctor, relative or sibling