What Is Binge Drinking?

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse

The government has defined binge drinking as a form of heavy drinking whereby an individual consumes large quantities of alcohol at least one time in the past two weeks. For males, binge drinking includes the consumption of five or more drinks at a time, and for females, its four or more drinks.  However, to most people, binge drinking is perceived as a self-destructive and uncontrolled drinking bout that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.  During such episodes, heavy drinkers may fail to meet their obligations and participate in destructive behavior such as wasting money, ignoring their responsibilities, and engaging in harmful activities such as fighting or risky sex.

Today, alcoholism and binge drinking are generally associated with teenagers and college students that have become vulnerable to developing a dependency on alcohol. However, binge drinking is not only restricted to young people. There are many alcohol abusers who experience binge drinking episodes, and for those who suffer from alcoholism, binge drinking can be a daily occurrence.

Binge drinking occurs when an individual consumes large quantities of alcohol in a very short span of time. This can be quite hazardous to the body. When someone consumes more alcohol than their body can handle they are at risk for developing alcohol poisoning.  In some cases, alcohol poisoning can be fatal. Unfortunately, binge drinkers may fail to recognize that they have had too much to drink. It’s not uncommon for teenagers and college students go to parties where they are encouraged to binge drink through drinking games that encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol.

Binge drinking also affects the brain and can cause brain damage.  New research indicates that it only takes a few binge drinking episodes to cause damage to someone’s ability to remember things, pay attention and make appropriate judgments. Young people who participate in binge drinking are particularly vulnerable to damaging their brains and may struggle with memory loss issues later in life. Research indicates that adolescent drinkers are even more susceptible to developing brain damage. More importantly, early binge drinking can increase the risk of developing alcoholism later in life.

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