Due to the fact that alcohol consumption is both legal and largely considered to be socially acceptable, it is rarely viewed as the dangerous activity that it is. Alcohol is, after all, a drug substance that produces physiological changes in the body. And while any amount of alcohol consumption has the potential to cause harm, high levels of alcohol consumption that occur over short periods of time can be incredibly dangerous.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as any drinking pattern that raises an individual’s blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL. This means consuming roughly four drinks for women and five drinks for men in two hours or less. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men at the same time or within just a few hours of each other.
Some of the effects of binge drinking include accidental injuries, like those that occur in auto crashes, falls, and burns, intentional injuries, like those that are inflicted through firearms, sexual assault, and domestic violence, loss of work productivity, relationship problems, alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, nerve damage, sexual problems, permanent brain damage, ulcers, gastritis, malnutrition, cancer of the mouth and throat and more.
Sports and Alcohol
There may be many reasons why an individual would choose to binge drink, including being in an environment where drinking is condoned or encouraged. According to a Harvard study, one such environment is a sports event. In the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study more than fourteen thousand college students attending one hundred nineteen colleges in thirty-nine states were surveyed about their alcohol consumption habits. The study results disclosed that approximately fifty-three percent of sports fans binge drink when they consume alcohol. The study also revealed that among those individuals who are not sports fans, approximately forty-one percent of males and thirty-seven percent of females binge drinking. Why the higher drinking percentage among sports fans?
One of the authors of the study indicates that advertising is a large part of the reason behind sports fan binge drinking. It is argued that the alcohol industry makes a point to focus a lot of their advertising attention on sporting event attendees, making alcohol consumption appear to be the perfect way to refresh oneself. Representatives of the alcohol industry may argue this point, indicating that advertising does not make non-drinkers into drinkers or casual drinkers into binge drinkers. It is certainly true that any amount of alcohol consumption occurs as a result of the individual’s decision, but it is also true that an individual who feels that alcohol consumption is condoned or encouraged may be more like to take up drinking or increase their alcohol consumption, and alcohol advertisements in and around sports events can do just that. Sports fans can come to feel that drinking is simply part of watching sports–you can drown your sorrows in a beer when your team struggles and celebrate with a beer when your team succeeds. It can feel normal, natural and safe–especially when one is surrounded by others who are doing the same.
Casual drinking can easily become binge drinking, and binge drinking can quickly become a dangerous, and even deadly, habit. If you or someone you know needs information about how to stop binge drinking, it is important to get professional help. Full recovery from the use and damaging effects of alcohol is possible, but it is a difficult and dangerous road that one should not attempt to travel on their own.