Binge Drinking – The Weekend Warriors
Many people binge drink in young adulthood and most survive it without major consequences. Unfortunately, young people don’t often limit these binge-drinking sessions to rare occasions, especially in their college years.
Too often, binge drinking occurs on a regular basis almost every weekend. If they drink, they do it hard. It is a pre-planned event, usually in a social setting with friends.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that an unbelievable 37 million Americans binge drink about once a week with about seven drinks consumed each session. One binge drinking session includes five or more drinks in one drinking event for men, and four or more drinks for women. And yes, drinks that are consumed before going out, while “pre-gaming” also count toward these amounts.1
Many young adults ask if drinking every weekend makes them an alcoholic. It can be assumed that every alcoholic does binge drink, but not every binge drinker is an alcoholic. Binge drinking is a type of alcohol use disorder and it is dangerous by itself, even if you have not developed a dependence on alcohol.
Binge drinking significantly increases the risk of developing alcohol dependence. It’s a fine line and it can be crossed quickly. Before you know what happened, not just drinking on weekends, but almost daily and can’t stop. In many cases, binge drinkers are not physically dependent to alcohol, but they are still prone to accidental death due to alcohol consumption.
In many college settings, drinking seems to be almost like a team event, you can’t escape. Others drink to forget problems or emotional pain. If everyone around you seems to be drinking constantly, it is good to know that many schools offer sober groups and activities and CRC’s (Collegiate Recovery Communities) to give you plenty of activities and like-minded people to meet.
Binge drinking is dangerous because it involves consuming large amounts of alcohol. Some of these problems can be temporary, such as dehydration, coordination problems, nausea, poor decision making, and memory loss (blackout), while some are more harmful and may last a lifetime, like liver diseases, brain damage, or heart problems. People who begin drinking at an early age, or are under ae 26 are at a higher risk to develop alcoholism later in life.
If you are young and can relate to this weekend behavior all too much, please consider seeking help. You may not have to stop drinking forever, if you haven’t developed alcoholism yet. Reach out to your family, a student counselor, visit an outpatient center for a few weeks, or see a therapist near you. Take control, take responsibility– your future self will thank you for that.
Don’t let your peers run your life. You are worth it, you deserve better. Don’t ruin your life with a wrong decision made under the influence of any substance. The ER is not the place where your evening should end.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control. During binges, U.S. adults have 17 billion drinks a year. Mar 2018.