Binge Drinking: When Does it Become a Problem?
When you think of binge drinking, what do you think of? Most people think of the hard parties or the late nights out without any stoppage. One might think that one night out isn’t the end of the world, and while one might not be, are you aware of the effects of long term binge drinking?
For some people, it simply amounts to stumbling around, slurring their words, or getting sick, but the truth is that binge drinking looks much more serious than any of those things. It’s not always easy to spot someone who binge drinks. The effects are often internal. Binge drinking can leave a heavy mark on one’s body.
While some effects might be hidden from the naked eye, it’s not impossible to spot them in someone who you are close to. If you spot these things it might be time to have a serious, loving conversation about their health.
The subsequent hangover after a night out slamming back beers and chasing them with shots of tequila could be the least of your worries. Even more worrisome – studies show that even just one night of binge drinking can have serious effects on all parts of your body, not only your brain.
Binge drinking is not exclusive to those who are addicted, either. Long term damage from heavy alcohol use often develops health problems.
Binge drinking is defined differently for men and women – for men, it is defined as consuming five or more drinks within about two hours. For women, it’s defined as consuming four or more drinks within about two hours. Of course, this will still change depending on your body type, size and BMI, but this is the general rule and can be taken seriously in nearly every case.
In 2015, a study by the CDC revealed that 1 in 6 U.S. adults reported binge drinking. That’s 37 million binge drinkers in the U.S. alone. Let’s take a look at just how that affects each of them.
Short Term Effects
Drinking itself is not a mystery – the effects of alcohol are well known, and how hard it can be on parts of your body like your liver, lungs and elsewhere. Rapidly increasing your BAC (blood alcohol content) by drinking quickly, drinks that are high in alcohol can lead to serious health problems. Doing these things without regard for your sex, age, ethnicity, height or many other factors can leave you in a risky position.
It’s estimated that roughly half of the alcohol related deaths in the U.S. are related to acute intoxication. That means that you could end up being a statistic, and if you think you are immune, these statistics would like to politely prove you wrong.
Binge drinking can lead to death by alcohol poisoning, which can be treated if caught early enough, or by someone who has passed out and has their gag reflex suppressed and vomits, choking.
When drinking, you don’t only have poor coordination, but poor judgement and very poor executive functioning. This means that everything that you do is likely not the right decision to be made, and there are many decisions that can lead to your untimely death.
Binge drinking can directly affect your:
- HeartHeavy drinking can cause high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, or sudden death from heart failure.
- KidneysYour kidneys play an important role when drinking alcohol. Putting too much pressure on them can cause kidney stones or dehydration.
- LungsAlcohol suppresses your gag reflex which can cause vomit, saliva or other unwanted substances to enter your lungs. This can cause inflammation or infection in your lungs
- PancreasOne night of binge drinking can lead to dangerously low blood sugar, leading to countless other problems.
This is just a short list of what can happen to you while under the effects of alcohol. It’s not complete, but these dangerous happenings are a good reminder that even one night of binge drinking is not safe. Don’t rationalize, realize and make a change.
Long Term Effects
After the hangover passes, your body might not be totally out of the woods. Injuries, STIs, or anything of that sort will stay with you for years if not the rest of your life. There’s not a ton of research done on what one night of binge drinking does to your body or how long these acute effects last, largely because, for most people, it’s not one isolated event of binge drinking.
Frequent binge drinking is very likely to cause long term effects, and while lots of research has been done, much more can still be done.
In the long run, alcohol increases the risk of several cancers, including liver cancer, mouth cancer, throat, voice box, esophagus, colon and rectum cancer. Even just a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
Heavy, long-term alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which includes liver inflammation and cirrhosis. This kind of drinking is also bad for the cardiovascular system, leading to increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat.
If you or a loved one is a regular binge drinker, reach out to us and see how we can help at ecosoberhouse.devshell.site. We are waiting for you, our doors and website open to help.