As the weather becomes warmer people begin to plan outdoor parties and barbeques which frequently involve alcohol. These events are planned in good fun, but these parties can quickly become dangerous if binge drinking becomes a part of the festivities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as the consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in a single occasion.
“This type of drinking is dangerous in the short term because of the effect of alcohol on decision making, the ability of our organs to work correctly and consciousness, but over time it can lead to liver problems, decreased performance in work and school and increased absenteeism,” says Cliff Spanierman, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
Binge drinking does not only effect the individual consuming excessive alcohol, but it also can seriously impact others as it increases the likelihood of sexual assault and driving under the influence which raises the risk of getting in an accident 15 times.
For those under the age of 21, 90 percent of the time when they consume alcohol it is in the form of binge drinks according to the CDC.
“This is partly due to the way in which young adults drink,” says Dr. Spanierman. “They go out to party not to have a drink with dinner but to celebrate which inevitably leads to binge drinking. Often times they do not take into account the amount of alcohol in a drink and so they will drink a mixed drink just as quickly as a beer which has lower alcohol content.”
In addition, young adults will often take shots rather quickly because much do not realize how long it takes for them to feel the effects on alcohol. This can result in overloading the liver with alcohol because it cannot metabolize the alcohol fast enough.
Overconsumption of alcohol can be avoided by keeping track of the amount of alcohol being consumed. By doing this, one can avoid becoming one of the 80,000 fatalities which result each year from binge drinking.