Binge drinking is on the increase, understanding why a person drinks to excess might help to control their drinking behavior.
Binge drinking, is a form of alcohol abuse where an individual drinks more alcohol than the 5/4 limit in a matter of two hours (or less).
The 5/4 limit refers to the classification of what constitutes binge drinking. It is said that if a man consumes more than 5 drinks or a woman more than 4 over a two hour period, then he or she is officially binge drinking.
Binge drinking is reaching epidemic levels in some countries, particularly amongst adolescents and those in the 20-30 age range.
Social drinking (that is drinking within moderate drinking guidelines) isn’t harmful, however, when a person drinks in company or a social setting to the point where he/she becomes inebriated and cannot make sense of the goings on around him/her, it can become a cause for concern.
Researchers, NGOs, and various support groups have sounded the alarm as binge drinking has been found to be a stepping stone to prolonged alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence if not controlled.
Another worry is that due to its ability to affect the behavior of the drinker, binging puts extra pressures (accidents/violence/health problems) on the health and emergency services.
The Reasons For Binge Drinking
- It’s fun: This is one of the most common reasons for binge drinking. Most youngsters just want to let their hair down, enjoy a night or two (or more) of revelry, let go of their inhibitions, and ease the burden of so many expectations and pressure. Binge drinking is a very common occurrence in parties to the point where a party without any alcohol is deemed somewhat of a dampener.
- They want to socialize and feel more self-confident: This is particularly true of shy folks or introverts who find it a tad difficult to socialize unless they feel ‘free’ by- you guessed it- drinking. Alcohol does have this innate tendency to make you feel more uninhibited, and innumerable young adults have admitted to indulging in excessive drinking just to be ‘one’ among the crowd, feel sexy, and to get out there and mix around with others.
- They want to assert their dominance or macho image: This point is one of the most obvious reasons for binge drinking when it comes to men- especially those who just have to show everyone who’s boss (by taking part in drinking competitions- where the ‘winner’ is the champion guzzler).
- They want to forget their problems: This is one of those reasons for binge drinking that most scientists and support groups are wary about, since it may signify an underlying problem. Though binge drinking in order to let go of stress is a pretty common occurrence, indulging in this habit on a regular basis can make one susceptible to the pitfalls of alcohol abuse and lead him/her to start depending on the substance in order to use it as a coping mechanism.
- Peer pressure/acceptance issues: This is mostly evident in the case of high school and college crowds. ‘Fitting in’ has always been a bugbear since time immemorial, and if binge drinking can make you popular, then so be it- at least that’s what some kids think. Unfortunately, many students feel ‘socially obligated’ to binge drink if they are part of a clique or an environment where this habit is encouraged.
- They are curious: Many people take to binge drinking just to know what it ‘feels’ like, especially after hearing someone’s take about a wild night out.
- They want to rebel: Again, this holds true when it comes to many teens and young adults, most of who may tend to have poor relationships with their parents. During this phase, many kids use binge drinking as a ‘weapon’ against their parents in order to revolt against the set rules and norms and to use alcohol as a tool for asserting one’s independence.
The reasons for binge drinking are many, and scientists have even gone on to suggest that genetics, a family background of alcohol abuse, and the easy availability of alcohol can increase the likelihood of binge drinking.
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