Binge drinking is a common practice among teenagers and young adults due to their first experiences with alcohol. However, adults in their 30s account for about half of the total binge drinkers, according to the CDC. So, if you or someone you care about binge drinks, you need to be aware of the health risks and dangers of binge drinking.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short time, typically within an hour or two. To be considered binge drinking, males must consume five or more drinks in under two hours. For females, they must consume four or more drinks in under two hours.
Regardless of gender, engaging in binge drinking is a bad habit to develop. Not only could you develop alcohol use disorder, but you also have to face other consequences and dangers of binge drinking.
Why Is Binge Drinking Dangerous?
When someone binge drinks, they are consuming drinks quickly to experience the effects of alcohol. Their objective is to get a “buzz” to feel good, become more social, lower their inhibitions, and become more outgoing and engaging.
However, the more one drinks, the more difficult it becomes to keep track of how much alcohol has been consumed. It is easy to develop alcohol poisoning and overdose from binge drinking. When someone reaches this state, their heart rate slows, they can pass out, and slip into a coma. They could also experience brain damage or die.
What Are the Risks of Binge Drinking?
The dangers of binge drinking are increased risks to your well-being and include:
The effects of alcohol cause one to gradually impairs one’s ability to speak clearly, walk, and maintain their balance. As a result, the risks of personal injuries increase. One could slip, trip, fall, or run into other objects. They could also attempt to drive or operate machines that could cause personal injuries.
Psychological and Emotional Risks
One of the psychological risks of binge drinking is the effects alcohol has on the brain. Brain development often continues until around the age of 25. So, teens and young adults that binge drink could result in stunted brain development and include:
- Memory Problems
- Reason Problems
- Learning Disabilities
- Impaired Social Development
Ongoing binge drinking can also result in the development of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Emotional risks from binge drinking occur from the chemical changes alcohol has on the brain. Initially, the brain increases the release of serotonin and dopamine, resulting in the euphoric feelings one experiences when binge drinking.
Additionally, the level of GABA, the neurotransmitter chemical responsible for inhibiting brain processes, increases. This results in slowed responses common with binge drinking, such as slurred speech or problems contracting.
Other Life Risks
Another side effect of an increase in GABA levels from binge drinking is lowered inhibitions. So, one might make impulsive decisions, like jumping off a roof and into a swimming pool. They may also decide to drive while intoxicated.
Some people will also engage in risky sexual behaviors while binge drinking, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners. As a result, the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, HIV, and an unwatned prgenancy also iincrease.
Some people will also engage in risky sexual behaviors while binge drinking, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners. As a result, the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, HIV, and an unwanted pregnancy also increase.
Binge drinks are also more prone to start experimenting with other substances, such as marijuana, opioids, and heroin. So, some people who binge drink could develop a drug addiction as well.
How Does Binge Drinking Lead to Alcohol Use Disorder?
When someone binge drinks, it is reinforced as a positive behavior from the increase in serotonin and dopamine levels. However, the body develops a tolerance to alcohol the more one binge drinks.
Therefore, larger amounts of alcohol are required to achieve the same desired effects. Unfortunately, the body continues to increase its tolerance to alcohol in an attempt to continue to function. It is this ongoing cycle of increased alcohol consumption and increased tolerance that leads to alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol dependence can develop whether one binge drinks one or two times a week or more often. Furthermore, the dangers of binge drinking continue to increase the more often one binge drinks and as the amount of alcohol also consumed increases.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Rehab in Atlanta
When you are concerned that you are binge drinking and cannot stop, it is time to seek help at Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta, so that you can stop. We offer customizable binge drinking and alcohol rehab treatment programs for teens and adults of all ages.
The sooner you get help with your binge drinking, the sooner you can reduce the dangers of binge drinking. To learn more about our alcohol rehab programs or to speak to an intake specialist, please feel free to contact us by calling 908-489-5564 today!