The Pit Falls of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is many times associated with wild parties amongst the younger crowd, specifically teenagers in high school and college students. While it is more common for young people to binge drink, you might be surprised how binge drinking affects people from all different type of backgrounds and age groups. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control Prevention) states that binge drinking “is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.” How is binge drinking defined? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a persons blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above. For example a man consuming 5 or more drinks, or a woman consuming 4 or more drinks within a two hour period would be classified as binge drinking.
If you ever participated in binge drinking, why did you do it?
What the stats show
According to national surveys studied by the CDC on binge drinking, while binge drinking is more common amongst 18 to 34 year olds, binge drinkers who are 65 years and older report binge drinking more often doing it anywhere from 5 to 6 times a month. Some may think that binge drinking may be more common amongst those with lower incomes but survey results show that binge drinking is more common in households that make $75,000 or more. That binge drinking is a problem in the U.S is supported by the fact that survey results show that more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S is in the form of binge drinks. As stated before even though it is common amongst college students to binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older. However 90% of alcoholic beverages consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the U.S were in the form of binge drinks. Binge drinkers are 14 times more like to drink and drive than none binge drinkers. These stats are no doubt horrifying and the consequences that come from binge drinking are even more terrifying.
Health issues associated with binge drinking
Excessive amounts of alcohol deprive the brain of oxygen, which can lead to vital body functions shutting down. Common symptoms from over drinking can include vomiting, unconsciousness, and slow or irregular breathing. In some cases it could lead to death. For example a 16 year old in Trulock, California went out with some friends to have a good time and they brought with them a bottle of whiskey that was 86 proof. She drank too much and she never made it home, she died of acute alcohol poisoning. None of her friends recognized the signs. Binge drinking is associated with many other health problems besides alcohol poisoning which includes,
• Unintended pregnancy
• High blood pressure
• Stroke or heart attack
• Poor control of diabetes
• Sexual dysfunction
• Unintentional injuries like falls, burns, car crashes etc.
• Intentional injuries like assault, rape, domestic violence
• Increased Acne
• Weight gain
• Damage to internal organs like the liver and kidneys
• Alcohol Dependency
Pressure, Pressure, Pressure!
There are many factors that can influence someone to binge drink. Especially amongst young people peer pressure can be a huge motivator to binge drink. The pressure to fit in with friends at school can be difficult to overcome unless that young person has a strong foundation along with strong support. The thing about binge drinking is that it can reach any social circle. Your teenager can be a straight A student and hang around with college bound friends, and yet this same circle might find it harmless and fun to binge drink. Unfortunately sometimes under age drinking gets minimized in the eyes of some. Sometimes even parents become guilty of this, some might think that as long as my son or daughter is not killing, robbing, doing drugs, messing up in school or coming home pregnant they are willing to look the other way when it comes to consumption of alcoholic beverages, or the parties their teenagers or young adults may be going to. Even so your son or daughter may not want to binge drink but once peer pressure sets in especially if it is coming from a friend who would be considered a “good person” in the eyes of many adults the difficulty to overcome that pressure can be immense.
Binge drinking in college can be considered an unofficial tradition in many circles. It gets glorified in movies and T.V shows as part of the college experience, and they always show large crowds participating. However the devastating effects it can have are rarely ever shown on camera in its true form. Other causes that can lead to binge drinking are people who may be depressed or sad about something and they use binge drinking as a means of coping. Some just like to live reckless and they consider binge drinking as a way to have fun.
Resist the influence
We have read the devastating effects that binge drinking can bring. One way we can help the youth is by educating them on the effects of binge drinking and helping them to appreciate the many benefits that come from avoiding that type of behavior. Regardless of what age group we are in if we find ourselves becoming alcohol dependent or already at that stage then seek medical help. Look for support from those whom you love and trust the most and talk to them about your problem. Most importantly do not under estimate the power of a spiritual routine especially when it comes to prayer. A study released by the NCBI revealed that 81 % of primary care physicians and 85% of Psychiatrists felt that “an emphasis on spirituality is critical to the success of 12-step programs”. Psalms 46:1 – “God is our refuge and our strength, a help that is readily found in times of distress.”