What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of excessive alcohol over a short period of time. For each person and circumstance this may be different as many factors can contribute to what is considered binging. There are some standards that have been set by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stating that a binge is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings a person’s blood alcohol level to a .08 or higher. In a man this would equate to drinking about 5 or more drinks within a two-hour time period and for a woman it would equal 4 or more drinks in that same time period.
Binge drinking can cause serious harm to yourself or somebody else as you are abusing your body and can lose control of your senses and the ability to make clear, sound judgment. Even worse, binge drinking can cause damage to your vital organs, loss of consciousness, alcohol poisoning or result in death.
Other Factors that Can Affect a Person when Binge Drinking:
There are some other factors that can affect a person when binging such as:
- Have they eaten a meal recently? If a person eats a large meal prior to consuming a large amount of alcohol, the effects of the alcohol may not be a quickly as they if they hadn’t eaten. It may take a bit for the alcohol to get through their bloodstream because of the meal.
- Are they taking other medications whether they are prescriptions or illicit drugs? Binge drinking while taking medication can be very dangerous whether or not the prescription or drug has been obtained legally or not. There are a number of factors that could lead to serious and dangerous consequences.
- Weight and Gender– while there is always the men vs. women debate some evidence suggests that gender is a contributing factor in alcohol absorption in the body even when their weights are similar. Men tend to have a greater percentage of water in their body and the alcohol is absorbed into the water much faster. When a woman drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man, the affect is far less, as the woman doesn’t have as much water in her body. There is also a metabolizing enzyme in a your stomach, in a woman the level of activity of this enzyme is lower so it passes much more quickly into the bloodstream. Last but not least are the woman’s hormone levels, which can vary before, during and after her menstrual cycle.
Binge drinking over long periods of time can develop into a very disturbing physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. When it gets to the point that you can’t function without it you will also develop emotional problems such as anxiety and depression, which will begin to affect and eventually destroy relationships with your family, friends and co-workers.