You might try cutting back on your drinking but find that you suffer headaches, fatigue, anxiety, or irritability on the days when you don’t drink. But the next morning, you notice that your depressive symptoms or anxious thoughts are worse than usual. Alcohol can damage body tissues and interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and break down harmful chemicals. These effects can increase your risk of various types of cancer, including mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, and colon cancer.

If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 right away. There are many misconceptions about alcoholism that make it sound like an alcoholic is an easy person to spot, however, many alcoholics function effectively and lead relatively normal lives. Binge drinking often happens when moderating alcohol use becomes difficult.

Risk factors

In other words, a binge drinker may have problems misusing alcohol, but they may not have an alcohol use disorder. The practice can have serious health effects and can increase your risk of developing an AUD. Here’s what you need to know about the key differences between the habits and dangers related to binge drinking and alcoholism. Binge drinking, one of these patterns, involves consuming several drinks in a short period of time.

is binge drinking alcoholism

Digestive problems and liver disease are also potential long-term health risks that binge drinkers face. Contrary to the common perception, binge drinking isn’t just an issue limited to college students or fraternities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six U.S. adults binge drinks, and 25% of these adults binge drink at least once a week. While it’s most common among adults aged 18–34 years, almost half of the binge drinking is by those aged 35 and older. These statistics show that this issue is not confined to younger age groups.

Who Binge Drinks?

Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help. Consider talking with someone who has had a problem with drinking but has stopped. If your alcohol use is causing trouble for you at work, at home, in social situations, or at school, it’s a problem. Binge drinking is when you drink enough alcohol to bring your blood-alcohol content up to the legal limit for driving. That works out to about five alcoholic drinks for men or four for women in less than 2 hours.

You might arrive at a friend’s party in an upbeat and energized mood, but by the end of the night, you’re feeling sick and regretting your decisions. Dr. Witkiewitz said that two months ago she was supervising a patient she thought would benefit from naltrexone. But she said that the patient’s primary care doctor mistakenly believed that prescribing the medication required additional training in addiction medicine and refused to write a prescription. Researchers agree that while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating alcohol disorders, naltrexone and other approved medications are vastly underused.

What Are the Risks of Binge Drinking?

Many people with alcohol use disorder hesitate to get treatment because they don’t recognize that they have a problem. An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

People who are drunk also take other risks they might not normally take when they’re sober. For example, people who have impaired judgment may have unprotected sex, putting them at greater risk of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or unplanned pregnancy. Although they think about the possibility of getting drunk, they may not give much consideration to being hungover or throwing up. Because alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous – and even kill you – make sure you have medical advice from your doctor or a rehab facility when you decide to stop drinking. You’ve driven under the influence or have even gotten into a wreck after drinking and driving. There’s no good reason to get behind the wheel while buzzed, drunk or under the influence of any substance.

According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018, roughly 70 percent of alcohol-attributable deaths happen as a result of health issues. For example, a woman over 6 feet tall may be able to safely drink more alcohol than a woman who barely clears 5 feet. Similarly, a short man with a lower body weight may become intoxicated more quickly than a tall man with a higher body weight.

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