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Workplace Wellness Blog

Binge Drinking

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The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming alcohol to a .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) and beyond. This level of binge drinking often requires as little as a few drinks within an hour’s time in healthy adults. Binge drinking can lead to serious and life-threatening problems.

Of those who have reported binge drinking, four times per month, averaging about once per week. This excessive drinking can lead to poor judgment, arrests for DUIs, liver damage, increased alcohol tolerance, and, in those susceptible to it, progression of alcoholism, a medically-recognized disease.

Binge Drinking Statistics

Organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) keep careful statistics of binge drinking and alcohol abuse.

5.78% of adult men and 2.45% of adult women report drinking daily.

Over 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth is consumed through binge drinking.

Over half of the alcohol consumed by adults is consumed through binge drinking, which means most alcohol in the U.S. is not being used responsibly.

42.3% of male adults report that when they drink, they have 3 or more drinks that day. 21.9% of female adults report the same.

Some 1 in 6 adults report that they binge drink, which means some 40 million U.S. adults.

80,000 deaths are caused by binge drinking in the U.S. every year. Fewer deaths are reported for causes like diabetes, influenza, and intentional suicide.

Binge Drinking and Metabolism

Alcohol is processed by the liver slowly, at the rate of one ounce per ninety minutes in a normally-functioning liver.

One shot of liquor, one can of beer, and one glass of wine each contain approximately one ounce of alcohol.

This means that it is easy to over-consume alcohol, even to the point of lethal intoxication. As alcohol enters the bloodstream, its effects on your mood, coordination, and judgment are obvious; at .08 BAC, you are considered legally drunk.

In mild doses, alcohol will produce euphoria and impaired physical coordination. In more serious doses—binge drinking and beyond—alcohol causes loss of control to memory, mood, and judgment. It can further lead to respiratory failure, coma, and even death.

Alcoholism’s Symptoms

One of the most risky aspects of binge drinking is the potential progression of alcoholism, a recognized medical disease, within those who are susceptible to it. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Impaired control over drinking
  • Preoccupation with alcohol
  • Use of alcohol despite adverse consequences
  • Distortions in thinking, most notably denial
  • Other symptoms to be aware of include:
  • Memory loss while drinking
  • Stops and/or arrests for driving under the influence
  • Being injured or close calls while drinking
  • Conflict with family members abut drinking
  • Losing time from work as the result of drinking
  • Drinking at work, or drinking to stop any symptom of withdrawal
  • Promises to cut back that fail
  • Attempts to quit that fail
  • Drinking in the morning to feel better

Alcoholism: A Hereditary Disease?

It is well established in the medical literature that alcoholism has a strong genetic component. Alcoholism is a disease with the following characteristics:

Strong hereditary links, meaning you may be susceptible to it for reasons outside your control

It is progressive, which means that without treatment, it will only get worse.

It is chronic.

It is “uncurable,” which means that if you are an alcoholic, you can never have a “normal” relationship with alcohol.

These characteristics of the disease reveal why alcoholism can be so damaging. If you notice any of the symptoms above, be sure to seek an alcoholism screening and consult a professional for advice on how to treat your alcoholism safely and effectively.

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