Binge Drinking: More Likely in Middle-Aged Adults
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol content to 0.08 grams percent or above.” It occurs when a male has five or more drinks or a female consumes four or more drinks during a single session of approximately two hours. It’s often equated to three pints of strong beer for men and two large glasses of wine for women.
Binge drinking is a dangerous trend that only seems to be growing. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in six adults in the United States binge drink approximately four times a month and consume about eight drinks per binge. Furthermore, around 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by those under the age of 21 and over and half the amount consumed by adults is in the form of binge drinking.
The Damages of Binge Drinking
The statistics on binge drinking are especially troubling considering the negative ramifications that can occur as a result. For instance, some of the harmful consequences that can transpire from binge drinking include:
- Unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls or drowning
- Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault and domestic violence
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexually transmitted diseases or other risky sexual behaviors
- Unintended pregnancy
- Children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- High blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
- Liver disease
- Neurological damage
- Sexual dysfunction
- Poor diabetes control
Additionally, a recent study released by the CDC found that an average of six people die each day in the U.S. as a result of alcohol poisoning or excessively high amounts of alcohol in a person’s blood, which is often caused by binge drinking.
Binge Drinking: Not Just for College Kids
While it’s generally assumed to be a practice most prevalent among college-aged individuals and teenagers, the study discovered that middle-aged Americans were actually the ones most likely to die from consuming too much alcohol too quickly. “Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is a lot of binge drinking going on by people who are post college-aged. We were surprised by these findings,” said Robert Brewer, MD, MSPH, head of the CDC’s alcohol program and a co-author of the study.
No matter what the age or circumstance, excessive drinking can be dangerous and have lasting consequences. Entering alcohol treatment can help you or a loved one do away with harmful habits such as binge drinking and begin a path to recovery.
By Jenna Mitchell
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