The primary factor that leads to an addiction to alcohol is binge drinking. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what binge drinking is, and therefore, they do not know the warning signs to a potential alcohol problem.
Typically, binge drinking describes the act of consuming at least five alcoholic drinks consecutively in one sitting, and within a few hours. Binge drinking is an ongoing issue for people of any age across the country. However, it is especially prevalent among young adults and teens. A recent survey indicates that 34% of seniors attending high school and over 40% of college students admit to one or more occasions of binge drinking within the last 14 days.
The main reason binge drinking is dangerous is because the consequences can be severe. This risk is multiplied if a person binge drinks many times per week. Younger people who drink too much often combine their drinking with dangerous activities, which in turn increases the risk of serious injury or death. A few of these potential dangers include:
- Injury or death from car accidents, drowning, fires, trips and falls
- Contracting a sexually transmitted disease or ending up with an unwanted pregnancy
- Becoming a victim to assault or date rape
- Alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal
Alcohol is not only a drug, but it is a depressant. When someone consumes a large amount over a short span of time, their body is unable to process it fast enough, and this results in an elevated BAC (blood alcohol content). It varies by state by a BAC of 0.08 – 0.10 normally qualifies as legally drunk.
However, an elevated BAC can have far more dangerous repercussions than just legal issues. Extreme blood alcohol content can have grave results like loss of consciousness, depressed nervous system, and even death. It may sound rather disgusting, but the truth is that many victims end up vomiting while unconscious, and they then choke to death on their own vomit.
What can you do to prevent binge drinking?
- As a parent it is your responsibility to never allow anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, even if you are there to supervise. Not only is it illegal, but you may be held responsible for any negative circumstances that develop from their drinking.
- As a college student, even if you are 21 or over, you don’t have to party and drink just because “everyone is doing it.” If you see things going on that are disrupting the learning environment, tell the administration.
- Lastly, but most importantly, if you see someone who has consumed a large amount of alcohol, or looks as though they could pass out, don’t just ignore it. Call the police or 911 and get help for them. You could save the life of a friend.
If you have an addiction to alcohol, then you shouldn’t hesitate about asking for help or joining a group.