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Am I Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is an unhealthy habit with detrimental effects. But knowing what constitutes binge drinking and how to keep your alcohol consumption at a normal level can be confusing. This article will help you to navigate this confusing space.

How do I know if I’m binge drinking?

The CDC states that “binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.” This problem is especially prevalent among college-aged individuals. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams or above.” But what exactly does that mean? An article by the CDC further explains that “This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks in about two hours.” This may not seem excessive to most college students, but the effects of this type of behavior can be detrimental to one’s health.

 

What happens if I binge drink?

Binge drinking can cause a number of negative health effects. These effects are related to both physical and mental health. When it comes to physical health, the CDC states that binge drinking increases the likelihood of unintentional injuries, violence, the transmission of STDs, unintended pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, many cancers—including breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon—and memory and learning problems. These health issues can take a serious toll on one’s mental health and so do the effects of a potential addiction and dependency on alcohol.

 

How should I be regulating my drinking?

Some suggested tactics to prevent binge drinking are provided in an article by Kathleen Smith, PhD. Smith says that in order to regulate ones drinking and prevent the excessive consumption of alcohol, “Write down how much you drink and what the short-term and long-term effects of the behavior are.” Smith also suggests replacing alcohol with other beverages and consuming a glass of water between each consumed alcoholic beverage.

 

If you or someone you know may be binge drinking, reach out for help! The Campus Health Center is a great resource to be utilized in this kind of situation.

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