What is Binge Drinking?
Alcohol intake is often associated with a way to celebrate happiness but excess drinking has short term and long term adverse effects on body and may even prove to be fatal. National Institute on alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the intake of alcohol to such as extent that raises the blood alcohol level to 0.08g/dl. This level is attained by having 5 or more drinks in 2 hours.
Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains binge drinking as having 5 or more drinks in one session on atleast 1 day in past 1 month.
Short term harmful effects of binge drinking:
- Impaired cognitive abilities like memory lapse in which alcohol forgets all incidences which occurred while under the influence of alcohol, inability for judgement.
- Stomach upset, diarrhoea
- Impaired perception
- Incoordination- Can’t tandem walk i.e. walking in a straight line
- Hypotension i.e. low blood pressure
- Hypoglycaemia i.e. low blood sugar
Long term harmful effects of binge drinking:
1. Dependence on alcohol- Long term binge drinking habit converts into alcohol dependence, where having high dose of alcohol becomes habit.
Signs of alcohol dependence:
- Non intake of alcohol leads to strong urge which may convert into rage and indecent behaviour.
- Ability to appear non intoxicated even after taking heavy amount of alcohol.
- Development of withdrawal symptoms on trying to quit binge drinking
2. Brain damage is a very serious harmful effect of binge drinking. Alcohol affects several areas of brain functioning ranging from speech, hearing, vision, coordination, cognition and memory. These adverse effects persist even after hang over subsides.
3. Gastrointestinal tract disorder- Stomach and intestine both are adversely affected by binge drinking. Signs and symptoms of GIT damage are.
· Peptic ulcer
· Small intestine ulcer
· Gastric cancer
4. Cardiovascular disorder- heart is also adversely affected by binge drinking leading to cardiomyopathy where heart muscles are adversely affected. Cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension may also occur.
5. Renal dysfunction- kidney is overloaded with excess fluid, renal system works hard to flush out excess fluid leading to renal enlargement.
6. Liver dysfunction- alcohol consumption may lead to hepatomegaly or liver enlargement which may further deteriorate to cirrhosis, which is hardening and dysfunctioning of liver tissues. Alcohol consumption may also cause alcoholic hepatitis with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, liver enlargement.
7. There may be erectile dysfunction, poor sperm health, and hormonal disturbance like testosterone level fluctuations.
8. Skeletal Muscle wasting- It means reduction in size and strength of skeletal muscles which is very debilitation condition hampering activities of daily living.
Drinking in moderation is fine but Binge drinking will only bring destruction.