Binge drinking can have numerous meanings, but it usually refers to heavy drinking with the intention of getting intoxicated in a short amount of time. The effects of binge drinking can be harmful for your health and results in side effects such as memory loss, shakiness, nausea, vomiting, and hangovers. In serious cases, it can cause alcohol poisoning, which may lead to organ failure or even death.
How Is It Harmful?
Short-term side effects of binge drinking can be immediately dangerous for your health. Aside from the common symptoms, the alcohol also changes the way you behave. This increases the risk of falling and other accidents, since the brain cannot handle body coordination properly. When the mind is not thinking straight, it can lead to lost property, unplanned pregnancy, financial loss, and embarrassment. Long term effects may include damage to the brain or liver, especially if the person is a heavy drinker.
Is It A Big Problem?
Surveys have shown that young people between the ages of 20-29 are the most likely to fall prey to binge drinking. The effects of binge drinking have remained fairly stable for the 12-17 age range, but there has been a significant jump over the past few years. Statistics point to the 16-24 range as the most likely to get hurt or experience side effects from the effects of binge drinking, often because they are not used to high level of consumption.
There is no 100% guaranteed safe level for drinking, but there are some guidelines that can be followed to reduce the risk. For a person to stay healthy and minimize the chance of alcohol-related diseases or injury, the individual should not consume more than two drinks on any given occasion. For people under the age of 18, drinking should not even be an option, since this age range is at the greatest risk of physical harm.
To avoid the harmful effects of binge drinking, it is important to pace yourself and not drink too much to the point where you are incoherent. Always be aware of how a drink will affect you as an individual. Plan ahead before consuming alcohol, and be sure to have friends around who can tell you when to stop. Drivers should never drink, so appoint a driver before the party starts. If you are sick or need help, have a phone available so you can call friends or family.
People with smaller builds may experience the effects of binge drinking much earlier than a larger person does. In addition, people who drink regularly have a much higher tolerance to alcohol than people who drink sporadically. Alcohol also stays in the blood, so do not expect the effect to be gone after a couple hours. In some cases, it may take a few days for the effects to disappear. This is why it is important not to drink every day, especially with hard alcohols and liquors. Wine and beer have a lessened effect compared to hard liquor, but it should still be consumed in moderation.