The Risks Of Binge Drinking On St. Patrick's Day

Binge drinking is very commonplace on St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that’s become one of the biggest drinking days of the year.

With massive increases in beer sales, drunk driving incidents, and an emphasis on alcohol-driven celebrations, binge drinking is often encouraged.

Below we’ll talk about the prevalence of binge drinking on St. Patrick’s Day and why binge drinking can be damaging for your physical and mental health.

St. Patrick’s Day Binge Drinking Facts

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent.

For women, this usually equals out to four or more drinks, and for men, five or more drinks. On St. Patrick’s Day, the average person consumes 4.2 drinks.

If you or your loved one are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction or feel like there may be a problem with substance use, it’s important to prepare yourself for situations involving heavy alcohol use.

Consider the following facts about binge drinking on St. Patrick’s Day:

  • According to a survey, 32% of men binge drink on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • 75% of drivers involved in car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day are over the legal limit.
  • In 2019, 57 people were killed in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day (that’s one fatal crash every 38 minutes).
  • The average projected spend per person on St. Patrick’s Day this year is about $42. For women, 44% of that will be spent on alcoholic beverages, and for men, 49%.
  • One in six adults binge drink in the U.S.

Dangers Of Binge Drinking On St. Patrick’s Day

There are many reasons a person might binge drink on St. Patrick’s Day, such as to loosen up in social situations or take part in a group activity, such as bar hopping.

However, binge drinking can have several negative consequences on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.

For example, binge drinking may contribute to co-occurring mental health disorders (a dual diagnosis), such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

The following are a few of the major consequences of binge drinking you or your loved one may face.

Drunk Driving Accidents

Consuming alcohol slows down the parts of your brain in control of cognitive and motor functions.

This leads to impaired judgment skills, slower reaction times, and poor motor skills. 

Unfortunately, this combination of decreased coordination skills causes dozens of fatal car crashes every year on St. Patrick’s Day.

Effects On The Cardiovascular System

Binge drinking has several negative effects on the cardiovascular system.

Heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking may lead to:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • heart disease

Memory Loss

While binge drinking will not likely affect previously established long-term memories, it does impact your brain’s ability to form new long-term memories.

When alcohol is consumed in high quantities over a short period, it can cause partial or complete blackouts in which a person has no memories of events that happened during drinking.

One study looking at the effects of alcohol on memory found that people who drink heavily experience about 30% more memory-related issues than people who do not drink.

Other Effects On The Body

The NIAAA notes a full range of physical effects of binge drinking, including liver disease, increased risk of developing cancer, and damage to the kidneys.

Additionally, binge drinking can lead to pancreatitis (which is an inflammation of the pancreas) in people with underlying pancreatic damage.

Other short-term physical effects of binge drinking include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • inflammation in the lungs
  • increased chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • dehydration
  • drowsiness
  • slowed breathing
  • alcohol poisoning

Get Help For Alcohol Abuse In Massachusetts

If you or someone you love find it difficult to resist the urge to binge drink on St. Patrick’s Day, this may be a sign of alcohol addiction.

There are many other factors to consider when determining whether a person has an addiction, however. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.

We can help you to assess the prevalence of alcohol abuse in your life or the life of your loved one, and discuss options for recovery. Call us today to get started.


Fox 59 — Binge drinking warning ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

Johns Hopkins Medicine — Alcohol and Heart Health: Separating Fact from Fiction

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — What Happened? Alcohol, Memory Blackouts, and the Brain

National Institute on Drug Abuse — St. Patrick’s Day: Leprechauns, Shamrocks, and… Binge Drinking?

National Retail Federation — St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Spending and Celebration Plans

WalletHub — 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Facts

Wiley Online Library — Effects of Alcohol on Subjective Ratings of Prospective and Everyday Memory Deficits

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2023 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.