It’s the weekend. You have worked hard all week. You have finally decided its time to destress. Or maybe you decide to meet up with friends at the bar. Perhaps you don’t decide to get drunk until you are already out with friends. You have your plans made to get home safely. You feel you earned this night out. There are many reasons why people binge drink. Instead of looking at why let’s look at who. We can discover what binge drinking is, what it looks like, and the dangers of binge drinking together. By the end of this article, you will also understand how binge drinking could be the beginning of a drinking problem.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is consuming alcohol beverages rapidly enough to bring your blood alcohol levels to .08 in less than two hours. This is usually four or more drinks. Does that seem excessive to you? Consider the following:
You and your friends are enjoying a night out. You buy a round of drinks. Then your friend buys you a round of shots. You dance a song or two and get another round of shots before settling at a table with a drink. See how easy it was to get four drinks – all within about thirty minutes. For most people, it is more about seeing how fast they can forget their troubles then it is about counting how many drinks you are having.
College-aged drinkers are known for their binge drinking. The term drinking like a frat boy brings an image to just about everyone’s mind. That is classic binge drinking. Let’s take a look now at all the different types of binge drinkers. Do any of them look familiar to you?
What are the types of binge drinkers?
Binge drinkers can be broke down into nine different types. College students are not actually their own type of binge drinkers, but many people do believe that they should be. The reason is that most college binge drinkers only drink once or twice a week, they consume mostly beer or a more affordable for of alcohol, they tend to be more likely to drink on an empty stomach, and they commonly have a headache. They also have a tendency to have a slightly higher alcohol tolerance which could be more dangerous to their health. The other nine types are as follows:
- De-Stress Drinkers
The de-stress drinker is going to be a weekend drinker. They worked all week and need a get-a-way. They feel like they are losing control and drinking is one way for them to regain control. They see alcohol as their vacation away from life. A de-stress drinker is drinking to get away from their life not really from their own emotions. They have too much put on them and need to escape the pressure for just a little while.
- Social Drinkers
This could possibly hold the college student category. They want to be with their friends. They want to feel like they are letting go. It is all about the feeling of the party for the social binge drinker. It is an event. It is a reason to celebrate. They use social situations like parties and events as an excuse to drink. They drink more than they should rationalize that it is a special occasion so it is going to be okay.
- Boredom Drinkers
The boredom drinker is the one that doesn’t want to sit at home. They want something to do so they venture out into the bars and clubs. They don’t know what to do with themselves and are looking for a little bit of adventure in their life. Alcohol provides an outlet for them to explore a new outlet for their boredom. They may not drink if they could find something else to do with their time.
- Depressed Drinkers
The self-medicating want to feel better binge drinker falls into the depressed drinker category. It could be a bad break up. It could be a failed marriage. There are many reasons why people self-medicate rather than deal with the pain of depression. It is a cycle that can be very hard to break because when they sober up – they must face the reason they are depressed which causes them to drink all over again. Depression is a real condition and it can lead to alcoholism which is also a real disease.
- Bonding Drinkers
These binge drinkers are the lost friends that are reconnecting. They are happy to talk and chat. They reach out to those around them. They want to connect and get to know the entire community. They are the overly friendly binge drinker that seems to have no sense of personal boundaries.
- Community Drinkers
Community drinkers want to belong. They struggle to find their place in the community. They often drink to feel like they belong in the group. You are likely to see large groups drinking together. These are the friends and family that want to meet up and sometimes they drink just because they are together. They are there to have fun and don’t see the harm of drinking. They probably do not track how much they are drinking.
- Hedonistic Drinkers
These are the ones that want to lose control. They are tired of worrying about everything in their life. They are stressed with everything and need to let go. They go into the drinking session well prepared to drink to the point they don’t have to deal with anything. They don’t want to worry or deal with whatever is going on in their life. The hedonistic drinker will often have several drinks as quickly as possible to reach the point of drunkenness and then they will slow down. They are in danger of alcohol poisoning.
- Showoff Drinker
The showoff drinker is the type of drinker that wants the show how much they can drink in a short amount of time. They want to be the one that drinks the most. They want to prove that they are the best of the best. They aren’t the most reasonable drinker. They don’t know their limits and will often push themselves beyond their limits.
- Dependent Drinkers
The dependent drinker is the ones that feel as though the bar is a home away from home. They are here to seek comfort. They drink to feel needed or wanted. There is often a void in their life. They need to be at the bar in order to feel like they have meaning in their life. Often times they will have a specific place that they always sit. They have a regular drink. Binge drinking is part of their normal routine and they would feel displaced if they broke away from it.
Is binge drinking dangerous?
There are several ways in which binge drinking is dangerous. You have a danger to your health, lifestyle, and danger to your mind. We can look at each way it affects you. Then you can decide if the danger is worth binge drinking for.
Your health is affected every time you drink. You train your brain from your very first drink to see alcohol as a relief. Alcohol physically changes the chemicals in your brain. It can cause your brain to have a deficiency in the vitamins and minerals it needs to function. This can lead to dementia. When you drink your liver excretes alcohol instead of uric acid. It damages your liver causing irreversible scarring. This is just the beginning of the physical damage that you do by binge drinking even occasionally.
Binge drinking helps you to decide where to go, who you are going to with, and what you are going to do. You begin to plan your life around where you will drink and why. It will affect who wants to be around you as well. You may lose family and friends depending on how your drinking makes you act. Did you know that colleges with higher numbers of binge drinkers also have a higher number of reported assaults? There is also more property damage and a higher number of law enforcement visits. It makes the college a less safe place for women as well. There is a higher number of unwanted sexual advances reported by women on college campuses where binge drinking is a problem.
Finally, binge drinkers tend to be more depressed. They have more issues with antisocial behavior. There is a direct correlation between binge drinking and suicide rates. Binge drinkers tend to drink to ease the troubles that they have, however, most have to deal with the problems when they sober up. It is this type of binge drinker that is more likely to have a long-term problem and where binge drinking is going to be just the beginning of the issue.
Now that you see the dangers of binge drinking, do you feel as though binge drinking is something that should be regarded as no big deal? Binge drinking can be dangerous.