Everyone has their form of recreation; some like to play sports while others prefer playing video games. Some people like to drink alcohol, but sometimes, people drink too much alcohol, which is called binge drinking. This practice is usually considered safe when done in moderation, but it can lead to dangerous consequences when it happens too often. Below, we will look at binge drinking, its effects on the body, and how to know if you or someone you know has a problem with it.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 grams or above. This usually happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. Binge drinking is different than heavy drinking. Heavy drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings BAC levels to 0.15 grams percent or above. This usually happens when men consume 8 or more drinks, or women consume 6 or more drinks in about 2 hours.
Effects of Binge Drinking on the Body
Binge drinking can have several negative effects on your body. It can lead to:
- Dehydration – Alcohol is a diuretic that causes your body to lose water. You will urinate more often when you drink alcohol, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Drinking water before, during, and after you drink alcohol can help prevent dehydration.
- Impaired judgment -Alcohol can impair your judgment, which can lead you to make poor decisions. You may take risks you wouldn’t normally take, such as driving while intoxicated or having unprotected sex. When you binge drink, you’re more likely to make risky decisions.
- Memory problems- Binge drinking can cause blackouts, periods when you cannot remember what happened. This is because alcohol interferes with the part of your brain that forms memories. If you frequently drink to the point of blacking out, you may have an alcohol use disorder.
- Liver damage – Your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol. When you drink too much alcohol, your liver cannot keep up, leading to liver damage. Symptoms of liver damage include:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Weakened immune system – Drinking too much alcohol can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight illnesses. If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be more likely to get sick. This is especially true if you drink to the point of blacking out, as this can increase your risk of getting sick by up to six times.
How to Know if You or Someone You Know Has a Problem with Binge Drinking
If you or someone you know has any of the following signs, it may be time to seek help:
Drinking More Alcohol Than Intended
If you find that you’re drinking more alcohol than you intended, this may indicate that you have a problem. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about how much you’re drinking and why. If you find that you need to drink more and more alcohol to feel some effects, this is also a sign that you may have a problem.
Missing Work or School
If you’re missing work or school because of drinking, this is a sign that your drinking has become a problem. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about why you’re missing work or school. If you find that you would rather drink than go to work or school, this is a sign that you have a problem.
Drinking in Secret
If you’re drinking in secret or hiding your alcohol use from others, this is a sign that you may have a problem. It’s important, to be honest with yourself about why you’re hiding your drinking. If you find that you need to drink in secret to avoid judgment from others, this is a sign that you have a problem.
Binge drinking is unsafe and can lead to many health problems. If you or someone you know has a problem with binge drinking, it’s important to seek help. Several resources are available to help you or someone you know recovers from alcohol use disorder. Contact us today at 833-680-0165 for more information.