Saturday, April 13 2024 - 8:17 PM
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Risks of Binge Drinking

When we think about alcohol binging, one of the first images that come to mind is teens in a dimly lit room or middle schoolers at home when parents are not around boozing it up. While there are still real issues with kids and teens drinking alcohol, a new image of alcohol binging is now emerging.

The New Image

The new image for a binge drinker is not necessarily a teenager. It may be the young executive who wants to close a big business deal. Or it might be a college student hanging out with their friends. Or, it may be a worker who wants to be promoted in the business world. Nowadays, in the “after work” business settings, it is so passé to abstain from drinking. Instead, workers are expected to drink up… and drink up a lot! It is believed that having a drinking buddy places you in the “in” crowd, and you are, therefore, trusted as a business partner.

What is binge drinking? It is defined as drinking five or more drinks for men, four or more drinks for women, within two hours. This brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or more.

Risks of Binge Drinking

Are there any risks to guzzling alcohol? One ten-year follow-up study reported that some binge drinkers during college had a significant chance of abusing alcohol or becoming alcohol dependent ten years later. Harvard School of Public Health reports that heavy binge drinkers in college who had binged at least three times in two weeks had missed more classes, fell behind in schoolwork, forgot where they were or what they did, drove after drinking, and did something they later regretted.

While studies show benefits with alcohol consumption, we must remember that alcohol affects each person differently. Binge drinking can lead to short-term impairment such as the inability to walk straight, blurred vision, slurred speech, and slow reaction time. Blackouts can occur when several drinks are taken in one right behind the other on an empty stomach.

The cost of drinking too much is a sure gamble with one’s family relationships, job, and health. Refraining from alcohol eliminates both short-term and long-term consequences of drinking. Refraining also portrays a positive role model to children who learn from adults.

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Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

is a dietitian, photographer, and writer in Southern California.

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