Binge Drinking: Risks, Trends & Treatment Options
Each year, almost 40 million American adults participate in binge drinking — a pattern of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. This form of alcohol abuse can have devastating consequences, including addiction to alcohol. This risk is even greater for young adults, who make up the majority of the binge drinking population, because research shows the younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism.
Alcohol use disorder is just that — a medical condition — and can cause an uncontrollable urge to drink once it takes hold. Alcoholics often lose jobs, relationships, and their good health as a result of drinking too much. If you or a loved one binge drink excessively, you may be facing more than just alcohol abuse. Luckily, treatment of alcoholism is possible, and you can rebuild your old life.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking poses a serious threat to a person’s health, with one of the most devastating side effects being addiction. But the consequences of binge drinking don’t stop there — binge drinking can also jeopardize a person’s relationships with friends, family, and employers, and may cause legal trouble that can follow you around the rest of your life. Overall, binge drinking can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life.
Short-term effects of binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Impaired memory
- Lack of coordination
- Impaired judgement
- Alcohol poisoning
Long-term effects of binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism include:
- Liver disease
- Unintentional injuries like bruises, broken bones, head injuries and drowning
- Intentional injuries like gunshot wounds
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unintended pregnancy
- Babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other disorders
- Relationship problems, including losing custody of children
- Work problems or loss of employment
- Financial issues because of loss of employment or legal fees
- Jail time
Binge Drinking Facts
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking occurs when a person’s alcohol consumption habits result in .08 BAC or higher. This is typically defined as five drinks for men or four drinks for women within a two-hour period. Binge drinking is a pervasive issue in America, with 38 million U.S. adults participating in binge drinking activity.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average binge drinker partakes in a binge four times per month and has an average maximum of eight drinks per binge.
Other binge drinking facts include:
- Binge drinking causes 80,000 deaths in America each year
- Binge drinking is most common amongst 18 – 34-year-olds
- Men are twice as likely to binge drink than women
- Binge drinking accounts for 90% of all underage drinking
Identifying a Drinking Problem
Binge drinking and alcoholism are not mutually exclusive. It is a common assumption that alcoholics drink every day; however, data shows many alcoholics are chronic binge drinkers.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a person progresses beyond alcohol abuse to alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one exhibit these signs and symptoms, you may be an alcoholic:
- High tolerance for alcohol
- Slurred speech
- Odor of alcohol on the breath
- Hiding or lying about drinking behaviors
- Hidden bottles of alcohol around the house
- A large number of alcohol bottles in the garbage
- Drinking at inappropriate times, such as at work or while driving
- Impaired memory or blackouts
- Dangerous behavior, such as driving while intoxicated or having unprotected sex
- Dramatic behavior changes when the person drinks, such as when a shy person becomes outgoing or a good-natured person becomes angry or violent
- Scheduling a day around alcohol
- Anxiety or irritability when the person is not drinking
Alcohol Addiction Rehab and Recovery in Washington
Whether you call the Evergreen State home or have admired its natural beauty from afar, Washington provides the serenity that makes recovery from alcohol addiction that much easier. The Recovery Village Ridgefield is nestled in the Cascade Mountains, offering refuge from the hustle and bustle of Portland, OR, 20 minutes away and Seattle, WA, 2.5 hours away. Beyond the beautiful Evergreens and wildlife, many of the nation’s top drug and alcohol addiction research centers are also located in our backyard.
The alcohol addiction treatment program at The Recovery Village Ridgefield is steeped in research and always starts with detoxification. Supervision from our expert staff makes facing withdrawal symptoms during detox as painless as possible. The crux of alcoholism treatment is therapy, and our facility offers individual, group and family therapies, and nontraditional therapies such as equine and art therapy.
We would love to show you our beautiful Ridgefield, WA, campus and introduce you to our professionals on staff. Give us a call to set up a tour of our facility or, if you’re out-of-state, talk through your questions with our admissions counselor. Your journey to recovery from alcohol addiction can start today with a simple phone call.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, January). Binge Drinking | VitalSigns | CDC. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BingeDrinking/index.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, January 16). CDC – Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking – Alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
- City of Ridgefield. (n.d.). Home Page | City of Ridgefield, Washington. Retrieved from http://www.ci.ridgefield.wa.us/
- Foundation for a Drug-Free World. (n.d.). Short- & Long-Term Effects of Alcohol – Negative Side Effects on the Body – Drug-Free World. Retrieved from http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/alcohol/short-term-long-term-effects.html