Binge drinking is characterized by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Some binge drink because they solely want to get drunk, others could be unaware of what constitutes "excessive" consumption of alcohol. For men, it's five or more drinks in less than 2 hours and for women it's four or more drinks.
College students have a reputation for the excessive use of alcohol — 40% percent of college students in U.S. admitted to binge drinking in the past two weeks, according to The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.
The consequences of binge drinking are harmful to both the person and others around them. An alcoholic binge could cause:
- Personal injury (falls, burns, drowning)
- Car crashes
- Injury to others (fights, sexual assault, domestic violence)
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Brain damage
Binge drinking is particularly damaging to young adults because it puts them at risk for developing alcohol use disorder and alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder is associated with a loss of control over drinking, which results in the neglect of responsibilities at home, school, or work. The individual engages in perilous activities, like driving while intoxicated. Their relationships deteriorate because family and friends are upset with their excessive alcohol use.
Alcohol use disorder can develop into the disease of alcoholism. Alcoholism is characterized by these facets:
Heavy drinking as a young adult can lead to lifelong health and mental problems. If you binge drink or abuse alcohol and have the opportunity to enter inpatient residential treatment — definitely pursue it. It's much easier to seek help than live a life burdened or destroyed by alcohol abuse.