US Binge Drinking Is Intensifying

By Addiction Helpline America
April 18, 2021

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Did you know that binge drinking alcohol is the most common, costly and deadly pattern of alcohol abuse in the United States?

While there is nothing wrong with sitting back at home or at a bar and enjoying a drink or two with friends, binge drinking takes the practice to an extreme level and can lead to horrible outcomes for people who are binge drinking as well as those around them.

By definition, binge drinking is described as a pattern of drinking that will bring a person’s BAC - or blood alcohol concentration - to .08 or above. Depending on a person’s size and weight, this will usually take place when someone consumes five or more drinks in men, or four or more drinks in women, within the span of two hours.

When it comes to the data, there is ample evidence that binge drinking in the United States is on the rise and intensifying. Here are some major factors to keep in mind when it comes to the statistics behind binge drinking in the US.

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Major binge drinking statistics

Consider the fact that approximately one in six adults in the United States will binge drink four times per month. In each binge, those who participate will drink - on average - about seven drinks per binge.

When it comes to who binge drinking is most common amongst, the demographic of those between ages 18 and 34 years old take the cake. That is likely due in large part to the fact that that is the age range in which those who attend college are in school. College culture has become increasingly impacted by binge drinking in recent decades.

While that demographic takes much of the binge drinking, more than half of the total binge drinks are consumed by those 35 years of age and older, meaning that it is certainly not just a problem for young adults.

When looking deeper into those statistics, it is revealed that binge drinking is twice as common amongst men than it is amongst women. In fact, four of five total binge drinks are consumed by men.

What is also interesting is that while many would assume that alcohol abuse would take place amongst lower-income demographics, the vast majority of binge drinkers come from people whose household incomes are listed at $75,000 or more and have higher education levels. With that being said, binge drinkers with lower incomes and educational levels consume more binge drinks per year than their counterparts.

Side Effects

Sadly, there are a lot of short and long-term side effects of binge drinking. They can wreak havoc on the primary systems in the body and can reduce judgement and motor skills so much that it leads to death.

Here are the effects to keep in mind when it comes to binge drinking.

Short-term effects of binge drinking

Binge drinking can lead to a lot of issues with your health. That’s true far beyond the risks of getting behind the wheel while drunk and/or making other dangerous and irresponsible decisions.

  • Heavy alcohol abuse can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death from heart failure.
  • Alcohol has a major impact on the kidney and in the short-term can lead to vomiting and dehydration which can drastically dehydrate the body
  • Alcohol as a depressant will inhibit a person’s gag reflex, which can impact the lung’s ability to get rid of substances entering the lungs. Inflammation can occur in the lungs and the rest of the body during a binge.
  • A single session of heavy alcohol intake can lead to dangerously low blood sugar, severely impacting the pancreas.
  • Overall, being drunk significantly increases the chances of unsafe and unprotected sex. This can lead to unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Long-term effects of binge drinking

    The short-term effects of binge drinking are scary enough to be sure, but the long-term effects are arguably even more scary. While alcohol being drunk in moderation - both in terms of amount and proclivity - does not have measurable impacts on a person’s long-term health and lifespan, the same cannot be said about binge drinking regularly.

  • Chronic alcohol use can lead to major issues in the blood stream such as anemia and a suppressed immune system.
  • Heavy long-term alcohol use can also impact your body’s ability to absorb calcium in your bones. This can lead to weakening bones and osteoporosis.
  • In the long-term, binge drinking will increase the risk of stroke, dementia as well as impaired balance or coordination.
  • Heavy drinking and alcohol dependency is known to lead to a higher risk of people developing depression, anxiety and psychosis.
  • Long-term binge drinking can lead to a reduced fertility in men and women. It can also dramatically decrease a man’s sex drive. Moreover, drinking while pregnant is known to have major effects on the health of the fetus.
  • Finally, long-term heavy alcohol intake can lead to the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the gut. This can lead to chronic malnutrition.
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