Watch Those Appletinis! Binge Drinking Is A National Crisis
Thirty-three million Americans are tossing down a lot of booze.
Binge drinking – having a number of drinks in a short time – is frighteningly common and especially affects the 18-34 age group, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
Experts define binge drinking for men as drinking five alcoholic beverages in a row. For women, the number is four. A short period of time can be defined as one to two hours. According to the CDC, one in four people age 18-34 say that they were binge drinking in the last month. Another scary statistic: Two of every three high school students who said they used alcohol had also been binge drinking in the past four months. And despite efforts to educate people about the issue, the amount of binge drinking has remained steady over the last fifteen years, the CDC said.
The federal agency, calling binge drinking a “major public health problem,” citing the tragedies that can result from it:
*The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
*Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome
*Setting a bad example for teenagers
Experts have long believed that binge drinking happens because of peer pressure—don’t be a party pooper; everyone’s doing it. But there are other causes as well: a familial history of this behavior, and, simply, the availability of a lot of alcohol almost everywhere you turn. Surprisingly, the CDC says that most binge drinkers are not alcoholic. But binges can lead to that deadly condition.
If you think you’re a binge drinker, experts recommend that you seek counseling before the problem gets worse. You might have to stop drinking, or you might not. But whatever the solution, it is better than drinking your way to disaster. (CDC)
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at Betty Confidential.