While binge drinking is typically thought of as something youth and young adults, especially college students, participate in, data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) shows that this behavior is also widespread among older adults. More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8. While the age group of 18 to 34 year olds has the most binge drinkers, people 65 years and older binge drink most often.
Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when a woman consumes 4 or more drinks and when a man consumes 5 or more drinks, in about 2 hours. According to the CDC most people who binge drink are not alcoholics.
Binge drinking is a dangerous public health problem and contributes to over 54 different injuries and diseases, from car crashes and violence to sexually-transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. The chance of getting sick and dying from alcohol problems greatly increases for those who binge drink more often. According to the 2010 BRFSS, binge drinking is most common in the Midwest. In Missouri the estimated number of adults who binge drink ranges from 16.8% to 18.6% and the average largest number of drinks within a short period of time among binge drinkers ranges from 7.8 drinks to 9 drinks.
Everyone can help prevent binge drinking by choosing to limit the number of drinks they consume and to let others know the dangers of binge drinking. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines on alcohol consumption recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.
Pregnant women and underage youth should not drink alcohol.
When you come to the end
of your rope,
tie a knot and hang on.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
By Tina Stevens
About the Author: Tina Stevens is a Prevention Secretary with Preferred Family Healthcare. The prevention team works with coalitions throughout the Northern 27 counties in Missouri. She attend fairs and events to distribute information about ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) to bring awareness to our communities. In July 2012 she joined the Healthcare Home team as their secretary/care coordinator. Healthcare Home is a fairly new program in the State of Missouri that is combining Mental Health and Physical Health of our consumers to treat the whole person.