Alcohol Use Disorder and Binge DrinkingJanuary 22, 2020
In 2016, alcohol was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death, according to a review of 700 studies published in The Lancet. The researchers determined that any amount of drinking is harmful to you. Naturally, men and women living with an alcohol use disorder are at the most significant risk.
It’s easy to lose sight of alcohol use in America due to opioid use disorder and overdose dominating the news cycle for decades. The latter is a severe cause for concern, and millions of Americans require opioid use disorder interventions. However, alcohol takes the lives of some 88,000 people in this country each year, which is more than opioids.
Its legal status compounds the problem of alcohol use in America. Many young people harbor misconceptions about alcohol because it is legal. Millions of Americans start drinking in high school and continue to do so through their college years and beyond. It’s fair to say that alcohol is interwoven into the fabric of our country.
In most states, we can find alcohol just about everywhere, and there are few checks on how much a person can consume. Sure, bars and liquor stores close, but people can consume alcohol as much and as often as they choose.
Most Americans do not develop alcohol use disorders, but many do have unhealthy relationships with the substance. What’s more, many individuals engage in harmful drinking practices, such as “binge drinking.”
Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in two hours or less for men, and four or more drinks for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While a new study indicates binge drinking rates are declining, the researchers found that those who binge drink are consuming more alcohol than before.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder
An analysis of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 2011 to 2017 shows that binge drinking rates decreased a small amount. However, the researchers found a 12 percent increase in the average number of binge drinks consumed by adults who report binge drinking: 472 to 529.
The findings indicate that the rise in the number of drinks binged each year mainly involved adults 35 and older. In 2011, self-reported binge drinkers between ages 35 and 44 consumed an average of 468 binge drinks in 2011, compared to 593 in 2017.
While binge drinking has long been associated with college-age adults, the researchers found that the number of binge drinks consumed by 18-to-24-year-olds fell from 619 in 2011 to 545 in 2017. It’s a promising finding, but it isn’t an indication that we no longer need to concern ourselves with young adults engaging in the practice.
Regardless of one’s age, those who binge drink regularly place themselves at a significant risk of harm. From poor decision making that can lead to injury or death to the development of an alcohol use disorder, heavy alcohol use leads to nothing good. Binge drinkers can quickly become heavy drinkers and are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism.
If you are binge drinking regularly and alcohol is impacting your life negatively, then there may be a problem that needs to be addressed. If you have trouble abstaining from alcohol or drink even when you don’t plan to, then you may have an issue. If you are experiencing physical withdrawals when you don’t drink, then we strongly encourage you to seek professional assistance. You may meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder and require treatment.
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Do You have a Loved One Who has an Alcohol Use Disorder?
At Whitman Recovery Service, we invite anyone who has a loved one struggling with an alcohol use disorder to reach out. We understand that many people who battle addiction are not always willing to seek assistance initially. Seeking the guidance of a professional interventionist can significantly improve your chances of encouraging your loved one to seek treatment.
Whitman Recovery Service has a success rate higher than 90 percent regarding working with people to accept help. Please call us today 512-722-7566 to learn more.