What Is Binge Drinking?
Many people are familiar with the traditional signs of alcoholism. Many people see an alcoholic as someone who lurches towards the bottle the second they wake up. However, alcoholism doesn’t mean that someone has to drink everyday. For many people, alcoholism is a lack of control over the amount one drinks, regardless of how often they actually drink. The following guide explores some of the risks associated with binge drinking.
Understanding Excessive Drinking
Most physicians recommend that the average person consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day. There are very few risks associated with moderate alcohol consumption on a daily basis. However, many people consume alcohol for its euphoric and relaxant effects. Because of this, two drinks may not be enough. For those who binge on alcohol, a typical evening can involve anywhere from four drinks to 20 drinks.
Binge drinking puts the body under very high levels of stress. When you drink large quantities of alcohol, the liver has to process it over a very short period of time. This can lead to substantial increases in acetaldehyde, a carcinogen associated with the breakdown of alcohol in the body. Acetaldehyde is the main chemical that causes people to experience a hangover.
Drinking alcohol in binge quantities can cause metabolic harm to the body too. Since alcohol is processed through some of the same metabolic pathways that process carbohydrates, the consumption of high levels of alcohol can cause an individual’s blood sugar levels to spike to dangerous levels. It can also increase the risk of diabetes in susceptible individuals.
Binging on alcohol can also increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning occurs when the body isn’t able to remove alcohol from the body as quickly as it enters the body. For example, the average adult male body can process the equivalent of one beer every 50 minutes. However, many people who like to binge on alcohol may drink five or six beers in a single hour. Since the body isn’t able to process this quantity of alcohol in such a short period of time, it builds up in an individual’s bloodstream.
Alcohol intoxication is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical assistance. If an individual with alcohol poisoning is left on his or her own, they may die. Alcohol poisoning can cause a significant reduction in an individual’s ability to breath. If an individual drinks to the point that they pass out, they are also at an increased risk of throwing up and choking to death.
In addition, binging on alcohol cause individuals to engage in risky behaviors that they would normally avoid in everyday life. This can include unprotected sex, dangerous activities, and even getting behind the wheel.
In most cases, people who binge on alcohol aren’t dependent on alcohol. This means that they don’t experience withdrawal symptoms if they go without alcohol for a few days. While an alcoholic who drinks a 750 mL bottle of vodka every day would probably experience delirium tremens if he or she tried to stop drinking too quickly, the average person who binges on alcohol would probably experience minimum symptoms. Since the person who binges on alcohol may only drink on the weekends, the body doesn’t become dependent on alcohol. However, that doesn’t mean that binging on alcohol is safe in any way. In fact, binging on alcohol may carry higher risks than chronic alcoholism.
Reducing Your Risk of Binge Consumption of Alcohol
There are many ways to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. In many cases, binge consumption of alcohol is associated with college. Many young men and women in college attend fraternity and sorority parties where alcohol is served. At these parties, students may experience peer pressure to drink large quantities of alcohol. For younger adults who are living on their own for the first time, it can be hard to say no to a bunch of friends. However, it’s important to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to drinking. If you feel that you’ve had enough alcohol for the evening, there’s no harm in turning down a drink if someone offers it to you. Nobody should ever feel forced to drink if they don’t want to.
It’s also a good idea to recognize that more isn’t always better when it comes to drinking. While having a few drinks may feel pleasant and relaxing, you won’t necessarily feel better if you have five or six drinks. If you learn to enjoy the light buzz from a few drinks, you won’t feel the need to drink large quantities of alcohol as much.
For people who aren’t able to stop drinking after they start, it might be a good idea to abstain from alcohol completely. There are a variety of resources available for those that wish to reduce or eliminate their consumption of alcohol.