The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently said that binge drinking contributes to many different illnesses. This announcement comes after the CDC stated that 38 million people in the United States drink too much alcohol.
The question that many people have is what does binge drinking really mean? How much alcohol would someone need to consume to be declared a binge drinker? Dennis Ford, the executive director of Tallgrass Recovery stated that he does not believe it means four drinks over a long evening. However, this is the new standard set by the CDC.
In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) describes binge drinking as have six (for women) and eight (for men) units in one session. One glass of wine could contain two units depending on the size, and most 25 ml shots of spirits have one unit each.
The problem is not completely a person’s fault, though, according to Ford. He lays some blame on the lack of conversation between patient and doctor. A doctor will go through the smoking, weight, and diet questions, but the amount of alcohol consumed or guidance on this topic is not always given. Many adults will not realize that they are causing harm to their bodies by their evening or weekend activities. According to research, just one sixth of patients will talk to their doctors about alcohol and their own habits, but this conversation could reduce the number of binge drinkers by 25 percent.
The CDC says that binge drinking is a contributory factor in many illnesses. These include liver disease and infections. 88,000 deaths every year in the United States have been linked to alcohol. Death can happen for a variety of reasons due to alcohol. It could be from the various illnesses after prolonged use or it may be due to choking or poisoning from one binge drinking session.
It is not just the risk of illness that increases by drinking more. Due to poor coordination and lack of balance, accidents are more likely to occur. Alcohol is the main reason for accidents to happen within the home.
Mental health problems are also a possibility due to drinking. The chemicals cause memory loss and mood fluctuations. Excessive drinking can also lead to alcoholism, which brings further problems such as anti-social behavior and other illnesses.
In the United Kingdom, surveys show that binge drinking is decreasing. The number of 11 to 15 year olds said to have drunk alcohol the week before the survey in 2011 showed a decrease of 26 percent compared to 10 years earlier. The number of those who had ever drunk also decreased by 16 percent. The same pattern was also noted in 16 to 26 year olds, with a decrease from 71 percent to 48 percent.
There is much more knowledge about alcohol and its effects now than in the past. Like smoking, people are starting to see that it does have negative effects to the mind and body over a long period of time. The CDC says men should have just two units a day and women just one unit per day to avoid the illnesses that binge drinking contributes to.
By Alexandria Ingham