Binge drinking is a practice that is quite common among teenagers and young adults. The behavior is most often defined as having four drinks for women and five for men, in a two-hour period. Young people often don’t realize the true consequences of their actions early in life, partly because they can bounce back quickly after a night of heavy drinking. They may hear about the risk of alcohol poisoning or making reckless decisions from being inebriated. But, a significant number of binge drinkers don’t realize that they are at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
That is not to say that binge drinking means that alcoholism will develop, research supports that fact. Most binge drinkers in young adulthood do not go on to be alcoholics. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that binge drinking during one’s formative years can be a slippery slope to AUD.
The Road to AUD
Alcohol by nature, is the farthest thing from healthy. The list of alcohol related health problems, aside from alcoholism, is long. Many of the conditions that can arise from heavy drinking over a long duration can be deadly. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease and cirrhosis of the liver to name a few. People living with an AUD are at increased risk of developing such problems, so avoiding the condition is of the utmost importance.
Unfortunately, convincing young adults to drink only in moderation and infrequently is difficult to achieve. And while there is no such thing as healthy alcohol consumption, drinking rarely and in limited amounts mitigates the risk of eventually developing a problem. One way to enlighten young people about the risks of binge drinking may be to constantly bombard them with the facts.
A new study published recently, again supports the claim that binge drinking in one’s younger years increases the risk of AUD, The Research Society on Alcoholism reports. However, it is unclear (currently) if intermittent versus regular drinking has an impact on the development of an alcohol use disorder. The findings were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Preventing young people from engaging in dangerous drinking patterns is paramount. But, equally important is encouraging people who have an AUD to seek treatment for their condition. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We have helped a significant number of young people break the cycle of addiction and learn how to a live life, on life’s terms in recovery.