American culture is infused with alcohol in a number of ways. Your average American has a couple of drinks at the end of a workday. Professional and college sports goers are notorious for using such opportunities to imbibe heavily; tailgating is inextricably linked to football games across the country. When the work week comes to an end, a significant number of Americans go into weekend warrior mode—at which time copious amounts of alcohol are often consumed in the form of “binge drinking.” There are many other examples of when adults prime their drinking pumps, but you get the idea. Drinking alcohol is a big part of many people’s lives, and in many cases, alcohol puts drinkers at severe risk.
Consuming alcohol is a right afforded to adults, provided they observe the laws of the land. Drunk in public and driving under the influence are a no-no; however, people are well within their rights to drink to the point of alcohol use disorder and deadly ends. There is a wealth of research that links alcohol use to premature death, often the result of organ failure, cancer, accidents, and alcohol poisoning. Despite being a legal mind-altering substance, far more people succumb to alcohol each year, compared to deaths related to opioid use.
Binge Drinking In America
Alcohol is dangerous even in moderation, but drinking exponentially increases people’s risk of experiencing health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the practice as when men consume 5 or more drinks, or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. While the behavior is most closely associated with teenagers and young adults who are in a hurry to achieve a maximum “buzz,” older adults are no stranger to the unhealthy imbibing practice.
In fact, the CDC conducted a first of its kind study showing that around 37 million adults (roughly 17 percent) reported binge drinking, ABC News reports. So, just how much alcohol do Americans consume in this dangerous manner? The agency found that there are an unbelievable 17.5 billion binge drinks consumed per year.
The CDC found that 1 in 10 working-age adults die from excessive drinking each year, according to the article. Of those deaths, researchers associate more than half of the premature deaths to binge drinking. Given that young people and those over the age of 65 are engaging in the dangerous practice, it’s vital that prevention efforts take place. People need to know the risks that heavy drinking carries; addiction, unintentional injury, cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
“This study shows that binge drinkers are … greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others,” said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., lead researcher in CDC’s alcohol program. “The findings also show the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking.”
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Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Please contact Hope by the Sea to discuss your options for alcohol use disorder treatment. We are fully equipped to treat your alcoholism and any co-occurring mental health disorders that, if left untreated, will complicate your recovery. Long-term recovery is possible, and we can help you achieve your goals.