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Article Summary

About Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is generally defined as a person drinking huge amounts of alcohol in a very small amount of time, with the goal of becoming intoxicated; additionally, binge drinking can be characterized by heavy drinking that continues over a period of several days. Specifically, binge drinking is when someone has five drinks or more in the span of one sitting. According to several government conducted surveys, young adults in the U.S. that are between the ages of 20-29 years old are the group that has been reported to do the majority of binge drinking.

Why do people Binge Drink?

The reason why many young adults begin binge drinking is often related to both internal and external causes. Many people may initially begin to binge drink in order to satisfy their curiosity, as they mistakenly believe that if a couple of glasses of wine makes them feel good, a couple of bottles may make them feel even better; unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, as binge drinking typically leaves the person feeling sick and hung-over. In regard to the external reasons for binge drinking, the companies that manufacture alcohol spend billions of dollars each year in advertising that makes drinking appear to be attractive and fun; for this reason, it is easy to see how so many teens and young adults could get caught up in all of the social hype.

The most serious and potentially life-threatening side effect of binge drinking is the risk of experiencing alcohol poisoning. The signs that are related to alcohol poisoning include, but are not limited to: appearing extremely confused, pale or bluish colored skin, low body temperature, irregular breathing, vomiting, inability to be woken up, and seizures; additionally, alcohol poisoning can affect an individual's breathing, causing them to have problems with their gag reflex. When an individual's gag reflex is not working properly, they could choke to death. Binge drinking can cause a person a loss in sensory perception, resulting in a blackout; terrible things can occur when a person is unaware of what they are doing. Whether the person who is binge drinking is driving a vehicle and ends up having a collision or they are on a date and have unprotected sex, the results could be disastrous; hence, potentially fatal car accidents and unwanted pregnancies are just a small sample of some of the circumstances that could result from binge drinking.

Many different studies have reported about the negative effects of binge drinking on teens and young adults. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies recently conducted a series of simple studies in relation to binge drinking on lab rats. When the rats were submerged into a bathtub full of water and forced to swim around until they could find a platform to stand on, the sober rats that had a prior history of binge-drinking and the rats that had never been introduced to alcohol, performed about the same; conversely, when researches moved the flat surfaces to other areas, there was a vast difference in the way that these two groups of lab rats performed. The rats that had been exposed to alcohol were able to quickly locate where the platform had been moved to; on the other hand, the rats that were exposed to episodes of binge drinking, never could locate the platform that had been moved. The former binge drinking lab rats appeared to be in a state of confusion as they continued to circle around the previous platform site; thus, proving that binge drinking can have a significant effect on areas of the brain that control memory and learning. These particular studies indicated conclusively that the group of laboratory rats that had experienced previous episodes of binge drinking could still comprehend information effectively, but that they were unable to repeat previously learned information.

In relation to teenagers, binge drinking not only increased their level of aggressiveness, but it greatly increases the odds of the adolescent becoming a victim of violence themselves, according to a study that was conducted by Cardiff University of over 4,000 young drinkers, from over a dozen different schools; teens in the study that reported drinking at least once a month were over three times more likely to be assaulted. This particularly study is the first of its kind to conclusively link alcohol abuse to the potential of injury.

A current study in the United States that was related to binge drinking and next day performance indicated the following: students who have anywhere from 5-9 drinks the day before reported the negative impact on their mental abilities was quite obvious. The students who were among the binge drinkers complained of insomnia and of feeling extremely lethargic the day after binge drinking; some of the students reported feeling generally ill after a bout of binge drinking, and said that they had trouble paying attention in class the next day.

Drinking Games

Drinking games that are being played on college campuses across the United States require the players to participate in this dangerous activity; additionally over 90% of fraternities and sororities admitted that drinking alcohol ranks high in terms of their college social experiences. One third of over a thousand students that were surveyed admitted that they were drinking almost twice as much as before, upon entering college. A recent study in relation to binge drinking and peer pressure concluded that people who commonly partake in this dangerous practice encourage others to binge drink with them. The researchers hope that their findings will encourage college students to be much more selective in terms of whom they choose to spend time with.

The only way that parents and educators will have a chance to minimize the incidences of binge drinking is for them to learn as much as possible, and proceed to pass this vital information on to the young people in their lives. Adults should further note that incidents of binge drinking could be indicative of an alcoholism problem, which should be addressed immediately; at the first hint of an alcohol addiction problem, loved ones should locate and secure the assistance of a quality drug rehab program, for the best possible treatment results.

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