Binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol within a short time. Binge drinking occurs when men consume five or more drinks, or when women consume four or more drinks, in less than two hours. Furthermore, males are twice as likely to engage in binge drinking than women. There are a staggering 17 billion total binge drinks consumed annually in the United States, and that equates to over 450 binge drinks per binge drinker every year. Binge drinking is commonly associated with adults between the ages of 18 and 34; however, adults over the age of 35 account for consuming over half of the total binge drinks in the U.S each year. Surprisingly, a new study has found that at least one in ten adults over the age of 65 are engaged in binge drinking behaviors. Since 2005, the number of binge drinking adults has significantly increased from 7.7% to 10.6%.
Binge Drinking Affects and Alcoholism
Whether infrequent or continuous, binge drinking behavior can negatively affect health conditions. It can worsen or complicate diseases and their treatments and cause negative interactions with prescription medications. Binge drinking is also associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, cancers, and memory, learning, or coordination problems. The study also found that binge drinkers are more likely to visit the emergency room each year than their non-binge drinking counterparts.
Furthermore, alcohol dependence, also known as alcoholism, is associated with binge drinking. Although the two are not the same, binge drinking significantly increases the risk of developing alcoholism. The shift from the former to the latter can quickly occur if the binge drinking behavior remains unchanged and constant.
Preventing Binge Drinking
Specific interventions may prevent binge drinking but must occur at the state and government levels. For example, increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the number of retail alcohol stores, and restricting alcohol access by implementing limits on the days and times of alcohol sales may all help battle this serious public health issue.
Looking for Help?
Binge drinking is no longer affecting the college-aged population exclusively. It is increasing among adults, especially those over the age of 65. This dramatic jump in binge drinking among the older population appears to be a steadily worsening trend. Furthermore, binge drinking behavior can lead to alcoholism. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a nurturing space to support clients on their road to recovery. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges and foster hope for their future. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, call us today at 817-381-9741 or visit us online.