Binge Drinking Treatment - College Students Not the Only Ones in Need of Help
Binge drinking is one of the most common forms of alcohol abuse in the United States, and it affects far more people than you may realize. Although the issue is commonly associated with college students and other young people, it is prevalent across some pretty surprising populations. Indeed, this type of dysfunctional drinking is often the first sign of serious alcoholism, so seeking treatment as early as possible is wise. People of all different backgrounds seek binge drinking treatment, so this isn’t a problem that is limited to the young or the poor. Read on to learn more about the problem and how it affects different groups.
What is Binge Drinking?
Many people are taken by surprise upon learning what officially constitutes “binge drinking.” According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, to 0.08 grams percent or above. When consumed over a period of two hours, it takes about five drinks for this to happen to men and about four drinks for it to happen to women. One only needs to think of college keg parties and the nightlife in most cities to see that binge drinking is indeed a serious and widespread problem.
Binge Drinking in the U.S.
It comes as no surprise that demand for binge drinking treatment is strong across the country when you consider just how prevalent the problem is. According to the CDC, one in six U.S. adults engages in binge drinking at least four times per month, and they consume an average of seven drinks per episode. The effects of binge drinking extend beyond affecting the health and well-being of individuals; they also wreak havoc on the economy. In 2010, the cost of drinking too much exceeded $249 billion. Around 77 percent of this drinking is considered binge drinking, so binge drinking can be said to cost the country upwards of $191 billion per year. These costs are associated with healthcare expenses; losses in productivity and criminal justice expenses, among others.
Who Binge Drinks?
Binge drinking is more common among certain groups than others. However, the idea that it is limited to young adults and college students simply isn’t true. It is important to raise awareness about this because many adults feel that they are “in the clear” because they don’t fall into those particular groups. They therefore may not recognize that they have a problem and may not seek treatment.
A few of the most common groups that exhibit issues with binge drinking include:
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 20 percent of minors between the ages of 12 and 20 years old engage in binge drinking. This group is particularly vulnerable to developing serious alcohol disorders later in life; it is estimated that those who begin binge drinking between these ages are three times more likely to experience such problems. Additionally, their risk of engaging in risky behaviors like smoking, using drugs and unsafe sex is 11 times higher than the general population.
The culture at many colleges and universities encourages and normalizes binge drinking, and the effects have been disastrous. Every year, 1,825 college students die due to unintentional injuries while consuming alcohol. Another 695,000 are assaulted by someone who is under the influence, and another 97,000 are victims of sexual assault and date rape while engaging in alcohol use, including binge drinking. Sadly, one in four college students will face academic consequences due to their drinking habits, which may limit their options in the future.
The CDC also reports that binge drinking is twice as prevalent among men than women. Four out of every five binge drinks are associated with men. The reasons for this phenomenon are complex and largely unclear. A 2010 study by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities revealed that men experience a stronger rush of euphoria when drinking heavily. The flood of dopamine, however, tends to recede over time. This can prompt binge drinking because the person isn’t getting the same effect as they were before, so they consume more drinks more quickly within shorter periods of time.
Are You Concerned About Your Drinking?
As you can see, binge drinking, one of the most common types of disordered drinking, doesn’t discriminate. Although it tends to be more prevalent among young adults and men, it is a serious problem for people from many other populations as well. Studies have shown, for example, that it may be more prevalent among people with high incomes and education levels. If you are concerned about your drinking, you should consider seeking binge drinking treatment. Our Arizona addiction treatment center is here to help, so please contact us to learn more.