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Long Term Health Effects of Binge Drinking

Long Term Health Effects of Binge Drinking

The Definition of Binge Drinking

Alcohol abuse can come in different forms depending on the rate of your consumption of alcohol. Alcohol abuse can be categorized by either binge drinking or excessive drinking or heavy drinking behaviors. Excessive drinking is defined as 8 or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks in a week for men. Whereas binge drinking for women is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks within a period or men drinking alcohol at a rate of 5 or more drinks on one occasion. When you are drinking alcohol in a binge drinking manner, it means that you are drinking enough alcohol to bring your blood alcohol content up and above the legal driving limit. 

Binge drinking is often assumed to be a low risk for individuals engaging in alcohol abuse as it is not a regular everyday occurrence. However, there is an increased risk for long term effects on an individual’s physical and mental health. Frequently binge drinking will put your body at an increased risk for life threatening side effects and long-term physical health concerns. If you are someone that engages frequently in binge drinking patterns and are ready to stop binge drinking and learn how to live a balanced life in sobriety, the support of an alcohol treatment program will provide you with the insight and healing needed to overcome your alcohol addiction. 

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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Health Effects of Long Term Binge Drinking 

Engaging in alcohol consumption for an extended period of time through excessive drinking and binge drinking behaviors will have short term and long-term effects on any person’s physical, emotional, and mental health.  One of the biggest risk factors associated with binge drinking is experiencing alcohol poisoning that can result in a lethal amount of alcohol being consumed. As a person engages in excessive drinking within a short period of time, the blood alcohol content within a person will dramatically increase at an accelerated pace making it difficult for your body to metabolize the alcohol through your liver. This can cause your body to become poisoned with alcohol leading to life threatening and sometimes fatal side effects. 

Excessive drinking or frequently binge drinking has been shown to cause significant impacts on the community and society around you including influencing the relationships with your friends and families. Engaging in binge or heavy drinking has been proven to be the leading factor for 88,000 alcohol related deaths across the United States from incidents such as drunk driving car accidents, alcohol poisoning, violent acts, and suicide. 

One of the biggest risk factors associated with binge drinking is experiencing alcohol poisoning that can result in a lethal amount of alcohol being consumed. As a person engages in excessive drinking within a short period of time, the blood alcohol content within a person will dramatically increase at an accelerated pace making it difficult for your body to metabolize the alcohol through your liver. This can cause your body to become poisoned with alcohol leading to life threatening and sometimes fatal side effects. 

Engaging in excessive drinking or frequently binge drinking can create short term effects for individuals that will impact your physical health and emotional health or mental health issues. Some common short-term effects of binge alcohol consumption are:

  • Poor motor skills and functioning which can lead to slow response or reaction times 
  • Short or distracted attention span
  • Body dehydration
  • Fatigue or extreme sleepiness 
  • Depression or low mood 
  • Hostility or aggression towards others 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Decreased or irregular breathing
  • Pregnant women can experience a miscarriage or stillbirth  due to their alcohol consumption 
  • The development of  fetal alcohol spectrum disorders within their children causing long term side effects for the child 
  • Alcohol poisoning, which can cause a person to have side effects including vomiting, body convulsions or seizures, coma, or, in some cases, loss of life 

When you are engaging in alcohol consumption for an extended period of time, especially in frequently binge patterns of drinking, it can create long term health effects that can have serious consequences for an individual. Some long-term effect of drinking alcohol defined as consuming in binge drinking patterns are:

  • Difficulty sleeping or changes in regular sleep patterns including conditions such as insomnia 
  • Changes in physical appearance including weight gain 
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Lack of social connection and isolation from loved ones and activities that you once enjoyed 
  • Mental health issues or an increased risk of experiencing negative side effects from co occurring disorder of mental health issues 
  • Immune system becomes deficient and weak 
  • Increased risk for development of heart disease 
  • Decrease in brain volume and matter in young binge drinkers 
  • Increased risk for developing long term liver functioning problems
  • Increased risk of developing cancer of the throat, colon, esophagus, or breast 
  • Stroke

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Is Binge Drinking the Same as Alcoholism?

Many will wonder what the difference is between binge drinking and  alcohol use disorders as both classifications of drinking alcohol include a sense of lack of control due to your alcohol consumption and involve levels of excessive drinking. However, there are some key factors that differentiate the difference between binge  drinking alcohol  and alcohol use disorders including:

  • Physical dependence to alcohol- For those who are considered binge drinkers will typically not have an alcohol dependence physically and do not feel as though they need to be drinking alcohol in order to feel normal or function throughout the day. 
  • Frequency of alcohol consumption-There is a significant difference between those individuals that have alcohol use disorders and those who frequently binge drink. Often binge drinkers will take long breaks in between the periods of time they are drinking alcohol, whereas individuals that are engaging in heavy drinking or alcoholism will engage in consistent drinking patterns that occur most days throughout the week. 
  • Type of environment that individuals are in during alcohol consumption- Studies have shown that binge drinkers and those with alcohol use disorders will be drinking alcohol in vastly different environments. Most people living with alcohol use disorders will consume alcohol alone and isolated from others or in secret and often engage in alcohol consumption in the mornings and throughout the day whereas binge drinkers will often be drinking alcohol in the evenings in social or party settings surrounded by others or loved ones. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Alcoholism will be unique to each person that is living with alcohol use disorders but there are common signs and symptoms that will indicate that you or a loved one are at an increased risk of alcohol use disorders including:

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  • Unable to control your level of alcohol consumption even after expressing a desire to limit or cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Lack of interest or participation in social activities or hobbies that used to be of interest or that you once you regularly engaged in 
  • Expressing a desire to quit or reduce your alcohol consumption but experiencing failed attempts at doing so
  • Drinking alcohol in high-risk situations or engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of alcohol including driving while impaired or engaging in criminal activity. 
  • Spending the majority of your time thinking about, planning for, and engaging in alcohol consumption 
  • Developing a tolerance for alcohol causing you to have to drink more alcohol to reach the same desired effect 
  • Experiencing severe or significant cravings for alcohol when you are no longer drinking 
  • When you stop drinking alcohol, experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms 
  • Experiencing problems or difficulties at work, home, or school due to your alcohol abuse
  • If you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms and they are severe or uncomfortable, having to begin drinking alcohol in order to mitigate the severity of your withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to engage in alcohol consumption even when you begin to experience social, physical, relationship, and personal problems as a result of your alcohol abuse 

Alcohol Rehab at Resurgence Behavioral Health

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we believe that each person that walks through the doors of our treatment centers have their own unique stories and needs from an addiction treatment program. That is why we take the time to carefully design an addiction treatment program that is centered around your specific needs and goals for addiction recovery. Through our comprehensive approaches to alcohol addiction treatment, our team will work alongside you to help you discover the underlying causes of your alcohol addiction and gain the tools needed to develop a new lifestyle routine that fosters a life of sober living. Through individual therapy and group therapy processes that are facilitated with the latest in evidence-based addiction therapy methods including behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, holistic treatments, and medication assisted treatment, you will be able to complete your addiction treatment program feeling refreshed and renewed to begin your life in addiction recovery. Contact Resurgence Behavioral Health today to hear more about the alcohol rehab options available to you today to support you in getting on the road to recovery. 

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

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