Binge Drinking

The consumption of alcohol by those above the legal drinking age limit is generally accepted in the United States. However, there is a growing trend among high school and college aged students to participate in binge drinking. There are several definitions of what qualifies as binge drinking. From our research, we have found that the average amount of drinks to qualify as binge drinking is five or more in rapid succession for men and four or more drinks in rapid succession for women.

Binge Drinking and Health Risks

It is well known that with any alcohol consumption comes inherent health risks and problems. Those who participate in binge drinking, however, multiply their risks exponentially. Some of these health risks include:

* Liver Disease: Binge drinking can cause liver disease. The liver is the body's filtration system for the blood, so liver disease can lead to serious illness or even death.

* Alcohol Poisoning: The body is literally poisoned with alcohol when binge drinking occurs. The body deals with this by severe vomiting, seizures, and in some cases coma or death.

* Unintentional Injuries: Injuries such as car accidents, serious falls, or injuries to others can be the result of binge drinking.

Of these health risks, drunk driving is one of the most common. When a person is intoxicated, their judgment is impaired both physically and mentally. Their motor skills and reaction time is reduced. If a person is in this condition when they get behind the wheel of a car, it often results in tragedy.

Binge Drinking and Social Acceptance

So with all of the risks and problems associated with binge drinking, why are there so many that participate in this destructive behavior? Many times, especially among high school and college aged drinkers, peer pressure plays a large role. Fifty-one percent of young men have admitted to binge drinking, and 40 percent of young women have done it also. Many, but not all of these individuals, belong to fraternities or sororities. In a recent study on binge drinking, it showed that 1,400 college student between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from binge drinking. There is such an overwhelming pressure to “fit in” that good judgment is set aside and the yearning to be popular among peers unfortunately takes precedence.

Binge Drinking and Education

Much can be done to educate young people of the dangers of binge drinking. Some of this education can be provided by the school systems, but ultimately it needs to come from parents. In the end it is the parents' responsibility to teach their teens that the dangers of binge drinking far outweigh the fleeting, fun experience. Through the education system and parental involvement, great progress can be made in reducing the number of deaths and injuries associated with binge drinking. Binge drinking has become a serious issue in today’s society affecting many. It is the hope that with education will come positive results.