Binge drinking is defined as consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. While many women remember this term from their college years or early 20's, binge drinking is a common issue for women in the 30's and 40's as well. If you've found a spare evening to have a ladies night and you're looking to cut loose, you should take this information into account before you start tossing more than a few back!
Are you binge drinking? Even if you don't drink everyday, there is still a chance that you are a binge drinker. If you are drinking with the intention of getting drunk, you are most likely consuming drinks very quickly. If you are consuming more than the Lower Risk Guideline, than it is possible that you are binge drinking. According to Drink Aware, women's low risk consumption limit is about a pint of beer or 5.92 ounces of wine.
What are the effects of binge drinking on your body? There are several short-term effects from binge drinking according to DrugFreeWorld.Org, some of which you may have already experienced. These effects include:
- Slurred speech
- Upset stomach
- Breathing difficulty
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Anemia (the loss of red blood cells)
- Black outs
According to the Center for Disease Control, binge drinking is also linked to more long-term conditions such as high blood pressure, strokes, liver diseases, neurological damage and sexual dysfunction. In addition to health concerns, the CDC reports that, "Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers." Fast consumption of alcohol is also linked to many unintentional injuries such as falls, burns and drownings as well as certain crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence.
How can you avoid binge drinking? If you do get the chance to go out with the ladies, it's okay to have a drink or two, just make sure you are smart about it. Before drinking, try to eat a good, balanced meal that includes some healthy carbohydrates to help absorb some of the alcohol. While having a full stomach won't stop alcohol from affecting you, it does delay the process by slowing down the speed at which the alcohol hits the bloodstream. It's also important to hydrate before drinking and remain hydrated once you begin drinking. Try drinking a glass of water for every two alcoholic beverages that you consume to keep you from becoming intoxicated too quickly and to help prevent that dreaded morning hangover. The most important thing to remember if you want to drink responsibly is to limit yourself and take it slow.
If you are worried about your drinking habits or those of someone you love, you can call your general practitioner for advice on cutting back your alcohol consumption or try seeking local support through the Alcoholics Anonymous website.