With the commonality of drinking in this day and age, the line between moderation and overdoing can often become blurred. In fact, drinking is not just reserved for college days but also socially integrated across the lifespan, readily seen at celebratory events, casual get-togethers, and many things in between. With something that has become an acceptable part of our society and culture, are the truths and dangers about drinking as commonly known?
More specifically, binge drinking is a topic many individuals would hesitate to address or to admit. Perhaps this is because binge drinking can be easily dismissed as “just a little bit too much”, or with such excuses as, “we were just having a good time.” The reality is that binge drinking is indeed a severe public health problem that warrants more attention and awareness.
There are many misunderstandings associated with binge drinking; one of the most widely believed misconceptions is that binge drinking is primarily an issue that pertains to men. However, binge drinking has become problematic among women, presenting serious dangers to those who may struggle with this. Because it is not widely recognized among women, the dangers and severities are grossly overlooked. As a result, women may be more hesitant to come forward and ask for help or admit that they may be struggling with this type of drinking problem.
How common is binge drinking among women? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 14 million women in the United States engage in binge drinking . What exactly is considered binge drinking? Binge drinking for women can be defined as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time. The CDC has also estimated that women who binge drink actually consume about six drinks within a short period of time and have an average of about three binge episodes per month .
While this may not seem problematic, the resulting consequences from binge drinking are ruthless and can even prove lethal. Any single binge drinking episode can contribute to motor vehicle crashes, violence against others, sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, alcohol dependence, and even death. The chances that sickness or death will result from binge drinking will continue to increase significantly as the episodes occur. Women who binge drink are also at greater risk for developing breast cancer and heart disease, among other health problems .
While the reasons that women binge drink are not entirely understood, it is important that this issue be brought into the light. For many women, binge drinking episodes may offer a temporary escape from difficult situations or undesirable emotions. For other women, binge drinking may be a means of social acceptance or approval. Regardless of the reason or stage of life a women may be in, binge drinking is not something that should ever be taken lightly, especially in consideration of the grave consequences associated with it.
If you or a loved one has been struggling with binge drinking, know that you are not facing this alone and that help is available. Whether this is something you do on occasion or habitually, your life is far too valuable to be destroyed by the throes of binge drinking. Reaching out and talking to someone about your struggles in the first and most important step in seeking the help and care you need. No matter the reason that you may find yourself stuck in episodes of binge drinking, there is hope for freedom and healing.
: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Binge Drinking: Nationwide Problem, Local Solutions”. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BingeDrinking/index.html Accessed 6 September 2013.