We’ve heard the term “binge drinking,” most likely attributed with college kids exploring their newfound independence. Binge drinking and excessive alcohol intake is so much more prominent than we imagine. This can lead to alcoholism. The effects of binge drinking can be detrimental on a person’s body and mind. What is considered binge drinking? Binge drinking is not just the act of drinking multiple days in a row, it is also characterized by drinking too much at one time, such as four or five alcohol-laden drinks or a six-pack of beer in one sitting. This type of consumption behavior is much more harmful to the body than having one drink a few nights in a row. You may be thinking about the harsh effects of an alcohol hangover that most people have experienced at some point in their lives when a night got a little out of control. Unfortunately, there are deeper consequences than just a headache and a morning of light sensitivity.
Let’s start with the most obvious effect: alcohol poisoning. Especially when there are a large group of friends that are all drinking to excess and unable to make good decisions, this is extremely dangerous. With no one to notice a potentially fatal situation unfolding, one friend can fall through the cracks when their bodies harshly reject the substances in their body. Liver damage is another effect that gets a lot of play when it comes to alcohol education. Other less recognized effects of binge drinking are pretty scary. Who knew that you could have memory loss, attention deficit and issues developing verbal information? Your brain takes a major blow, as “binge drinking damages the part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) that helps with decision making, planning, paying attention, emotion processing and controlling bad impulses.” It isn’t just your brain that is affected. Other problems can emerge as well, which “include stroke, type 2 diabetes and the development of heart disease.”
Especially when it comes to college students and young adults, we tend to dismiss these behaviors with alcohol as a part of being ‘young,’ but as you can see there is no benefit in disguising binge drinking as a fad. It is an extremely dangerous trend that can wreck the lives of those that choose not to limit their alcohol intake. I often hear kids saying “YOLO” (you only live once) as they drink another shot of alcohol and I can’t help but think they really don’t know what they are doing to the quality of that one life that they have.
What should possibly frighten us most is that when listing the detrimental effects, I am not referring to long-term alcoholism (although binge drinking can be closely related or intertwined within addiction). Just imagine how prominent the life-threatening effects become after binge drinking is sustained over a long period of time, most likely resulting in addiction and possibly death. This is why education is so vital as soon as possible for our kids and teens. For adults that struggle with alcohol consumption and addiction, education is also important but getting professional treatment and rehabilitation may be the only way to achieve sobriety.