Binge drinking is defined as any time that an individual drinks to excess or consumes enough alcohol to make them seriously impaired. What constitutes binge drinking may vary quite a bit from person to person, but it is generally agreed that the average man is said to have engaged in binge drinking if he has consumed more than five drinks in two hours and the average woman if she has had four or more. Though it is certainly common for people who are addicted to alcohol to engage in binge drinking, many people who binge drink are not alcoholics. Binge drinking is very dangerous and can lead to serious health problems, both in the long and short term. Here are just a few of the risks that are posed by binge drinking.
1. Damage to Short and Long Term Memory
Excessive alcohol use causes damage to brain cells and can have an impact on both short term and long term memory loss. College students who regularly engage in binge drinking have been shown to perform much more poorly in tasks that involved remembering a visual object or a piece of information that was taken in visually. People who frequently binge drink are also commonly found to have a harder time making decisions and processing information according to whether it is relevant or not.
2. Damage to Liver
The liver is the organ in the body that processes every substance that enters the body, whether it is food and nutrients or drugs or other toxins. The liver is an integral part of the body’s ability to metabolically process any items which need to be flushed out of the body, and proper functioning of the liver is an important part of the functioning of many of the body’s vital organs, including the heart. Binge drinking causes serious damage to the liver and may result in conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis.
3. Impaired Learning Skills
Severe alcohol use has a profound impact on the brain’s ability to function properly and may result in a lower ability to retain information and for the brain to develop in young people. College students who binge drink may cause serious damage to their brain and may experience an inability to function in classes or to enjoy the mental benefits of education. Impaired learning caused by alcohol can be detrimental to drinkers of all ages, because it can also impact a person’s ability to grow psychologically or emotionally.
4. Increased Risk For Dangerous Behavior
When a person binge drinks, their behavior is severely altered. They may often “black out” meaning that they truly do not have a good sense of where they are or what is happening around them. This can be a very harmful situation to be in, as it may put a person at an increased risk for engaging in violent behavior or other behavior that could lead to legal problems, inkling driving under the influence, which is very dangerous and can lead to fatalities for both the driver and the other motorists on the road. Blacking out can also put a person at high risk for being the victim of a serious crime.
5. Risk of Physical Injury
Heavy alcohol use is tied to lowered motor skills, which make a person much less likely to be able to walk a straight line and may put them at a much higher risk for falling or obtaining other injuries a s result of their diminished motor skills. It is possible for a person who is binge drinking to become severely injured and not feel the effects until the next day.