Binge Drinker Nation
Written by Peter Gailunas (Originally posted last year)
There was a report on Fox 25 that said binge drinking is on the rise. Maybe it's the economy or personal problems that causing people to hit the bottle. But the reasons why people drink is not what startled me, what startled me was the definition of binge drinking.
According to reports, binge drinking is four to five drinks at a time. Four to five! We'll then clearly I drink excessively every time I drink. I like beer. It's delicious and refreshing to me. If I ever planned on drinking less than four beers, I probably wouldn't have any at all. Sometimes I drink four to five beers while getting ready to go out drinking. You know, have a couple while watching the end of a game, a couple more while showering and getting dressed and maybe one more waiting for a cab.
Webster's defines "binge" as "an act of excessive or compulsive consumption." Four to five drinks for most people I know is neither excessive nor compulsive. Or have I just chosen to surround myself with fellow binge drinkers? Or maybe I've never grown up. Because according to these reports, the demographic of 18-35 has the most binge drinkers. So maybe I am young at heart.
The Center for Disease Control and Preventions
Upon further investigation, new research from the Center for Disease Control and Preventions shows that binge drinking remains common among the young. But it's not exclusively the young, senior citizens (65+) apparently like to binge as well. Those old bastards binge drink the most often.
Based on a survey of 457,677 Americans around the country, one in six Americans likes to knock back on average of eight alcoholic beverages within a few hours. Okay, well then that seems a little more "binge-y" than four to five over the course of a night. But I re-read the data and it appears that eight is the "largest average" number of drinks consumed in a binge. Binge drinking is typically defined as five or more drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It's basically if you drink to the point that would raise your blood alcohol levels to make you legally impaired to drive or operate heavy machinery - just in case you work a printing press or are a machinist.
Isn't that the point of alcohol? To feel the effects of it? I mean not to get shit-faced drunk and drive a car into a pole but to feel tipsy. But according to the experts that conducted this survey, binge drinkers judgement is impaired. They make some very bad decisions and "contributes to over 54 different injuries and diseases, including car crashes, violence, and sexually-transmitted diseases." They don't list the 54 but I'm assuming they could range with sleeping with someone you thought was attractive to waking up the next morning and realizing "not so much". I guarantee every person you see doing the "walk of shame", binge drank the night before.
So 38 million US adults binge drink an average of 4 times a month. Four times a month makes perfect sense. There are usually four weekends a month and according to Loverboy we are all just "working for the weekend."
Another interesting tidbit learned from this study? The income group that binge drinks the most often and drinks most per binge: less than $25,000. Not surprising at all. Those poor sons of bitches are just blowing of some steam. But for that ying you have this yang: Income group with most binge drinkers: more than $75,000. We'll of course, they have more money to drink more often.
So are we a nation of alcoholics? Nope. The study says that most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics. So what are we suppose to do with this information? Just be aware that we are all binging each and every weekend? Here is the advice the CDCP offers:
- Choose not to binge drink themselves and help others not to do it.
- Drink in moderation if they do drink. The US Dietary Guidelines on alcohol consumption recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. Pregnant women and underage youth should not drink alcohol.
- Support effective community strategies to prevent binge drinking, such as those recommended by the Community Guide.*Support local control of the marketing and sale of alcohol.
- Support the minimum legal drinking age of 21.
*The Community Guide recommendations can be found at http://www.thecommunityguide.org/alcohol.
Now that doesn't sound very fun at all does it? Here is some advice I offer my fellow binge drinkers. Drink responsibly. Don't drink and drive. Don't cause trouble. If you plan on getting completely wrecked, stay home but don't use the stove or light a candle. Be good people. Hope I didn't ruin your weekend.