Binge drinking is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol with the purpose of getting drunk. Binge drinking is known to contribute to a number of negative health and social consequences such as traffic accidents, violence, anti-social behavior, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning and suicide. It is harmful, irresponsible and dangerous to both the person who is getting intoxicated and those around them.
Alcohol is the most widely used and socially acceptable drug in society. Consuming alcohol regularly is seen as normal. In many groups, binging is encouraged despite the negative consequences of this type of drinking. Students, young people, those in the military and adolescents are the most common groups who will binge drink. But it is these people who are the most inexperienced and at risk of being involved in accidents, sexual assaults and other harmful incidents.
Young people under 25 are the most common demographic to participate in binge drinking. Between the ages of 15 and 25, people begin to experiment with alcohol and drugs. This is also a time that recklessness, inexperience and risk-taking can lead to harm. Young people are more impulsive than their older peers and will engage in unsafe and harmful drinking as a way to fit in with their peers, boost confidence and have fun. Using alcohol in this way can lead to social and behavioral problems, increase the risk of injury or disease or contribute to fatal accidents or suicide.
Inexperienced drinkers have a tenancy to engage in dangerous drinking such as binging. This may be the case for a number of reasons including peer pressure or social anxiety. Binge drinking is the most common form of dangerous drinking that is seen in young people, and it is considered a serious public health problem. Many universities and colleges have a significant problem with young people drinking in this way.
Alcohol is a dangerous substance and can cause a person harm. For those who have little experience drinking it, a binge can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Alcohol poisoning is a very real consequence of binge drinking, as is hospitalization, vomiting, nausea and other related health problems. Additionally, when a person is heavily intoxicated from binge drinking, they may be influenced or coerced into certain activities or behaviors that they otherwise would not do. Sexual assault and rape often occurs when someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Drink spiking is known to occur in nightclubs and bars that young people frequent. Being affected by alcohol can also contribute to an increase in violence, especially for young men who may become aggressive, paranoid or violent when drunk. This can cause physical, personal and financial problems for those involved.
Risks and Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking and harmful drinking can lead to long term alcohol related problems. The affect of this type of drinking on the body is incredibly serious and can lead to liver disease, brain damage and other organ damage. Research suggests that those who binge drink regularly are at a higher risk than others of developing alcoholism. If a person develops alcoholism, the long term personal, financial and social costs can be significant. Binge drinking is also related to other public health problems such as road accidents and suicide.
Binge drinking may also contribute to many serious problems in brain development function. Memory loss, ability to concentrate, motor skills and coping skills are all affected by alcohol abuse. For young people, this can be even more significant, as the brain is still developing and changing. Any damage to sensitive nerves or brain matter at this stage can be permanent. High levels of alcohol are known to damage brain functioning, and repeated binging can make this more serious.
Binge Drinking Causes Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning is a potentially lethal outcome of binge drinking. It occurs when a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches above a certain level, usually around 0.20. At 0.20 BAC, the body has 20 percent alcohol in the blood. A person will exhibit a number of symptoms including vomiting, seizures, agitation and aggression, changes to breathing, irregular heart beat and unconsciousness. If a person has alcohol poisoning they are at a very high risk of dying through complications such as choking on their own vomit or asphyxiating. Medical assistance is necessary to reduce the risk of death.
Binge drinking commonly results in alcohol poisoning. Vomiting and nausea, severe headaches and ‘passing out’ from intoxication are all moderate symptoms of this condition. Many people laugh off these symptoms as just part of getting drunk, but they can lead to health problems. Liver damage from alcohol toxicity can occur which will damage liver cells, cause inflammation and may reduce liver function.
Binge Drinking is a Public Health Issue
Individual issues aside, binge drinking is known to contribute to larger social problems that affect many people. Anti-social behavior and violent crimes, sexual assaults and dangerous driving are some of the larger problems that are the result of binging on alcohol.
Alcohol and violent behavior are intrinsically linked. Alcohol-mediated domestic violence, sexual assaults, homicides, antisocial behavior and property crimes are all too common. A person affected by alcohol is more than twice as likely to commit physical or verbal abuse than a person on any other type of drug. Engaging in binge drinking or chronic hazardous drinking increases the likelihood of negative behaviors and loss of self control. When a person is heavily intoxicated, they may be involved in assaults, sex crimes or property crimes or even become the victim of a crime themselves.
Research suggests that up to 50 percent of all cases of sexual assault, including rape, involves alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both. Alcohol can cause people to become aggressive, sexually aroused and violent. Individuals under the influence may assault someone who is also drunk, take advantage of someone who is intoxicated or they commit spousal rape.
Antisocial behavior is one key issue related to binge drinking. Antisocial behavior occurs in a person or group of people who exhibit a complete lack of empathy, are cynical and negative, highly opinionated, aggressive and self-assured. Binging on alcohol or other drugs is common for this group of people. They may have a reckless disregard for themselves, engaging in dangerous situations, including sexual misconduct. Individuals often are arrested for being a public nuisance or destroying property.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a very serious public health problem that affects all communities. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive safely and increases the risk of being involved in a road accident. Statistics reveal that up to 40 percent of all youth road traffic fatalities are linked to alcohol. Alcohol is known to affect a person’s reaction time, cognitive processing, coordination, vigilance, vision and hearing. These factors combined with the boost in confidence and risk-taking behaviors that alcohol provides can have fatal consequences.