Author: James Anderson

Binge Drinking

Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

But bodies absorb alcohol differently depending on factors including body type and age. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking alcohol, typically within a 2-hour period, which brings a person’s BAC to 0.08% or higher. A person’s BAC is the percentage of alcohol in their blood, and in the United States, a BAC of 0.08% means the person is legally intoxicated. Binge drinking is when a person consumes enough alcoholic beverages during a 2-hour period to bring their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher. Even though binge drinking can be a single event, it could still have severe health consequences (e.g., alcohol poisoning, STIs, heart disease) in the short and long term. Most people who binge drink are not addicted to or dependent on alcohol.

There are several options available for people who currently binge drink. These may help them gain control of their drinking habits or even stop drinking altogether. Some options may include finding replacement activities or seeking professional help. Cutting back on the amount or frequency of drinking can reduce these risks. Excessive drinking is also bad for the cardiovascular system, leading to increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Or by depressing the gag reflex, which puts a person who has passed out at risk of choking on their own vomit.

Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

Teenage binge drinkers are about three times more likely to develop alcohol use disorder. For example, a 2018 meta-analysis found a significant increase in alcohol use and binge drinking over the past 10–15 years, but not among all demographics. It was middle-aged and older adults who showed the most substantial increase in binge drinking. That increase may be contributing to the increasing rates of alcohol-related illnesses and death.

More on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Although the effects of chronic alcohol consumption and the mechanisms of tissue injury underlying alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis have received much attention, less attention has been focused on the pathophysiological consequences of binge alcohol consumption. Because of the differences in male and female alcohol metabolism rates, it is possible that greater tissue injury is produced in females who consume alcohol in binge-like patterns. Furthermore, in an aging population already riddled with polypharmacy, there is heightened potential for toxicity during an alcohol binge (Figure 4). Also, pre-existing comorbid conditions such as cardiovascular disease, renal failure, or steatohepatitis may predispose binge drinkers to accelerated tissue injury.

The CDC recommends that if you don’t already drink, you shouldn’t start for any reason. Federal and state health agencies also offer resources and can refer you to someone who can help. The National Helpline does not provide counseling, but it does connect callers with local resources such as counseling services, support groups, and treatment facilities. Additionally, anyone who feels they are not able to gain control of their drinking might consider the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline. Alcohol is also often found in the blood of people who harm themselves or attempt suicide.

  1. Animal models that reflect these patterns of alcohol exposure are needed.
  2. You’ll start to feel the effects of alcohol within 5 to 10 minutes of having a drink.
  3. She specializes in a variety of health topics including mental health, dementia, celiac disease, and endometriosis.

By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks. Binge drinking is when you drink enough alcohol to bring your blood-alcohol content up to the legal limit for driving. That works out to about five alcoholic drinks for men or four for women in less than 2 hours. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Tips to reduce health risks

Binge drinking is the most common and costly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.1,2 Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women. Heavy, long-term alcohol use can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which includes inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis. More frequent binge drinking, though, is more likely to lead to long-term damage. The 37 million binge drinkers had about one binge per week and consumed an average of seven drinks per episode. More research shows that even a single episode of binge drinking can have serious effects on all parts of your body, not just your brain. It can be challenging (but also helpful) to talk openly about your concerns about binge drinking with trusted friends and family.

Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

Data suggest that even one episode of binge drinking can compromise function of the immune system and lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Over time, alcohol misuse, including repeated episodes of binge drinking, contributes to liver and other chronic diseases as well as increases the risk of several types of cancer, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. However, not all reports support the link between consuming a specific beverage type (i.e., wine vs. beer or spirits) and health benefits.

What Is Binge Drinking Exactly?

Naturally, you may wonder how much alcohol you have to drink to get to that point. The answer depends on your sex, age, body mass, metabolism, the type of alcohol, and more. While drinking alcohol is normalized socially and is legal above the age of 21 in the United States, it can still have harmful impacts on the body.

People who make more than $75,000 a year and are more educated are most likely to binge drink. Binge drinking is a type of excessive drinking, where people consume a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking alcohol three days in a row is not good for you, but it’s not necessarily considered binge drinking either. Whether it’s considered binge drinking will depend on how much alcohol you consume each day and over a week or month.

However, binge drinking can increase your risk of developing alcohol use disorder. How quickly a person’s body absorbs alcohol may depend on their sex, age, and body size. But it typically takes four or more standard drinks for women and five or more standard drinks for men to reach a BAC of 0.08% during a 2-hour binge drinking period. Binge drinking is a type of excessive alcohol consumption that raises the BAC to 0.08 g/dL, the point at which a person is legally impaired. This usually involves drinking five or more drinks for men or four or more for women on a single occasion lasting a few hours. People with alcohol use disorder frequently binge drink, but they do this on a more regular basis than people who engage in single episodes of binge drinking.

By Sarah Bence, OTR/LSarah Bence, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and freelance writer. She specializes in a variety of health topics including mental health, dementia, celiac disease, and endometriosis. Drinking in moderation is considered to be consuming two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women. Heavy drinking is believed to cost the U.S. economy more than $200 billion a year in lost productivity, health costs, and property damage. You’ll start to feel the effects of alcohol within 5 to 10 minutes of having a drink. Here’s a look at how all that alcohol is impacting the health of Americans over both the short and long term.

How common is binge drinking?

These people can support you when you say no to an extra drink or ask to hang out in a different environment where you’re less likely to want a drink in hand. This is sometimes called the “5+/4+ rule” (5-plus/4-plus rule) of binge drinking. Reducing the impact of binge drinking on society, though, will need recognizing the scope of the problem and addressing it with alcohol taxes, alcohol advertising guidelines, and reasonable restrictions on availability of alcohol. A single night of binge drinking has a number of other effects, especially at higher amounts.

Researchers blame this kind of heavy drinking for more than half of the roughly 88,000 alcohol-related deaths — from car crashes, alcohol poisoning, suicide, and violence — that happen every year. Other factors also affect your BAC, such as how quickly you drink, whether you’ve eaten recently, and your body type. Binge drinking has many effects on your body, both over the short and long term. If your alcohol use is causing trouble for you at work, at home, in social situations, or at school, it’s a problem.