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Binge drinking is linked to host of illnesses in the body and studies are now showing it puts ones overall health in poor condition. Binge drinking is the act of drinking five or more drinks in men and four or more in women within a two-hour frame of time.
Nowhere is binge drinking seen more than on college campuses across America. Jeff Hayes, a licensed psychologist and a professor of education and psychology, wrote a recent article in the Journal of College Counseling that almost 1,900 drinking related deaths occur on college campuses around the country. Many more are injured or are involved in careless or drunken disorderly conduct.
Common and short-term effects of binge drinking are slurred words, blurred vision, loss of focus, falling while trying to walk, blacking out and passing out. Studies have been linked to heavy drinking and depression but it is difficult to tell whether people drink in excess because of depression or are depressed due to drinking in such extremes.
Binge drinking does not end after college though, the CDC estimates one in six Americans drink in excess up to four times a month. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said in a study 30-50 percent of people who binge drink are also facing some type of depressive disorder. Alcohol is an easy way for people to self-medicate when they are feeling down. It acts as a depressant in the body, however it can lead to serious problems.
Overall problems created by binge drinking will continue to create poor health issues within the body, including damage to the liver and kidneys. The liver breaks down alcohol five separate times in order for the body to metabolize and eliminate it. Over time this can cause havoc on the organ, causing fatty tissue to build up. The organ can stop working properly.
Researchers have also linked heavy alcohol use to high blood pressure in men. Though it is unsure if heavy amounts of alcohol create high blood pressure of the withdrawal symptoms of coming down after high amounts were ingested, according to Dr. Sarah Twichell, a clinical fellow in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. These findings were not found in women who consumed alcohol. A similar study was done in older men and the same results were noted as in the young men.
Serious problem can arise with continued abuse of binge drinking. Stomach and heart problems, liver cirrhosis, memory loss and brain damage often occur. For college students it can affect their attendance and grades. In adults it can have a lasting impact on family life. It can interfere with one’s ability to wake up on time for work, or other obligations.
Overall poor health and the many effects linked to binge drinking do not have to be the end all. There are many outlets in the U.S. designed to help people move towards a healthier lifestyle. Many of these dangerous symptoms can be reversed when binge drinking is no longer an issue. Other studies have shown that moderate drinking can have the opposite effect on the body, including lowering blood pressure.
By Paul Sears
Picture by Guian Bolisay – Flickr