What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking involves consuming several alcoholic drinks in a short period of time, which can be potentially dangerous. It is consuming enough alcohol in 2 hours or less resulting in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. For men, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% is reached after drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks and for women, it typically occurs after 4 or more total binge drinks. It is a higher concern among college students.
Health Effects of Binge Drinking
Heavy drinking like binge drinking can lead to accidents like car crashes, alcohol poisoning, suicide, and violence that can lead to injuries and even deaths. Some short-term health effects include poor motor control and slower reaction times, depression, hostility, low blood pressure, slowed breathing, miscarriage, sleepiness, dehydration, and shorter attention span. Over time, the consequence of binge drinking often can lead to several health risks such as weight gain, trouble sleeping, mental health issues, weakened immune system, stroke, and an increased risk of various cancers.
What Binge Drinking Does to the Liver
The liver’s main job is to filter out toxins from the bloodstream. A heavy drinking episode causes the liver to overwork which can lead to scarring and inflammation and eventually several liver diseases such as fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
What Binge Drinking Does to the Brain
Short-term symptoms related to reduced brain function include blurred vision, difficulty walking, memory loss, and slowed reaction time. Heavy drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning which can result in permanent damage to the brain and nervous system.
What Binge Drinking Does to the Digestive System
After a night of heavy drinking, you may notice the next day many digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Binge drinking can damage the mucous cells in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and induce inflammation and lesions. It can also irritate the small and large intestines.
What Binge Drinking Does to the Heart
Heavy alcohol use has been linked with higher heart attack risk and increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Those who binge drink are 72% more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t. It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, heart disease, or stroke. Excess drinking can also cause cardiomyopathy, a disorder affecting the heart muscle. Long Term effects of excessive alcohol use can contribute to obesity and the many health problems that go along with it.
What Binge Drinking Does to the Face
Any type of alcohol use can cause a rosacea flare-up, especially heavy drinking. Excessive alcohol dilates the pores of the skin which can lead to acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. Alcohol is also dehydrating so it can cause your skin to dry up and cause premature aging like lines and wrinkles. Alcohol releases histamine that dilates blood capillaries, which causes skin redness on the face.
When is it Time for Alcohol Treatment?
Although not every binge drinker has an alcohol abuse problem, it can lead to developing an alcohol use disorder. You may need professional addiction treatment if you exhibit certain patterns of alcohol use over a 12-month period. These signs can include:
- Inability to cut down alcohol use
- Significant efforts to get alcohol, drink alcohol or increased the amount of time recovering from drinking
- Using alcohol despite it causing social and interpersonal issues
- Strong cravings for alcohol
- Drinking causes the inability to complete home, school, and/or work tasks
- Avoiding work, social, and other activities due to alcohol use
- Using alcohol in hazardous situations such as while driving
- Alcohol tolerance
- Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop drinking
If you feel you have an issue with excessive alcohol consumption and cannot cut back on your own, it may be time to seek help from a treatment center. If you would like to know more about our treatment programs at The Detox Center of LA, please give us a call today.