Binge drinking on a regular basis can be dangerous and result in a number of long-term and short-term effects. Struggling with alcohol use or addiction, which can often result in regular binge drinking, is challenging to cope with and overcome on one’s own.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is when a person consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking in large quantities over several days may also be considered binge drinking. It is defined as a pattern of consuming alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 grams percent or above. This generally happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks.
Short-Term Effects of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking can have a number of dangerous and even deadly short-term effects. This is true for both individuals who regularly participate in binge drinking and for those who binge drink only once or twice. In fact, an estimated half of all alcohol-related deaths are due to “acute” intoxication, or intoxication that happens in a short period of time.
A few of the many short-term effects of binge drinking include:
- Acute inflammation of the liver, stomach, and pancreas
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sudden death due to heart failure
- Low levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium
- Inhibition of the gag reflex, which can result in infection and inflammation in the lungs
- Increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
- Increased risk of injury or death
Additionally, binge drinking can result in alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly if not treated immediately and adequately. Depression of the gag reflex can also result in death if someone has passed out and chokes on their vomit.
Moreover, binge drinking can also have effects that impact a person’s social and professional life. For example, a person who binges drinks may miss work or school due to a hangover or illness, leading to poor performance and consequences.
Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking
In addition to short-term effects, binge drinking can also have significant long-term impacts. The more a person participates in binge drinking, the more likely they will experience long-term damage.
Long-term effects of binge drinking may include:
- Suppressed immune system, which can make it difficult to recover from illness or injury
- Malnutrition is a result of the body’s inability to absorb vitamins and nutrients
- Reduced fertility
- Alcohol dependence and addiction
- Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of stroke
- Osteoporosis as a result of inadequate absorption of calcium
- Chronic high blood pressure
- Alcohol-related liver disease
- Nerve damage
- Increased risk of various types of cancer
Moreover, binge drinking can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol addiction is a chronic condition that can negatively affect every aspect of a person’s life. Alcoholism is the inability to quit drinking or control drinking despite adverse consequences.
Getting Help For Binge Drinking at Vertava Health
Binge drinking can be a sign of an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one are struggling to manage your drinking habits or cannot quit drinking, seeking treatment is the best way to reclaim your life from alcohol addiction. Vertava Health has several state-of-the-art alcoholism treatment facilities nationwide, all offering personalized addiction programs.