All About Binge Drinking

Man binge drinks

Binge Drinking

  1. What is Binge Drinking?
  2. LifeGuard and Binge Drinking
  3. Binge Drinking versus Alcoholism
  4. Who Binge Drinks?
  5. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's (NIAAA) National Advisory Council defines a "binge" as consuming 5 or more standard drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female) in about 2 hours.

  6. Other Reasons to Reduce and Monitor Binge Drinking

What is Binge Drinking?

"Binge drinking", "heavy drinking", "extreme drinking", and "benders" all refer to different forms of excessive alcohol consumption. Exact definitions are without consensus across different countries and cultures. Notably, heavy drinkers define "binge drinking" more liberally than do light drinkers. In the US, the rapid downing of 5 or more drinks by a man and 4 by a woman constitutes a "binge". In some countries, such as Russia, binge drinking is characterized as being continually drunk over a number of days. Americans know this as a "bender". Another term, "extreme drinking" now commonly refers to rapid consumption of 9 or 10 drinks respectively by a woman and a man.

Clearly, binge drinking, by any definition is dangerous and potentially deadly. It’s estimated that while only 7% of the US population binge drink, this small group consumes over 45% of the alcohol. In minors the estimate is that binge drinkers consume over 90% of the alcohol sold to minors.

LifeGuard and Binge Drinking

Not surprisingly, binge drinking is strongly associated with injury or death from alcohol-impaired driving. This fact speaks to the need for better monitoring and deterrence of those who may "binge" drink and drive.

LifeGuard Breath Alcohol Tester helps monitor binge drinking Accurate breathalyzer testing is one way to help deter binge drinkers from driving. French authorities have announced that bars, discos and other late-night spots serving alcohol must soon provide voluntary breathalyzers to clients preparing to take to the road. Their belief is that the availability of public breathalyzers will directly and indirectly help prevent driving under the influence. In the absence of such legislation it is up to the concerned proprietor, staff, casual drinkers or even binge drinkers themselves to consider using reliable personal breathalyzers for their own self control or that of others.

Those routinely exposed to excessive alcohol drinking make a strong personal statement against indifference by owning a precision breath alcohol testing instrument such as the LifeGuard.


Binge Drinking versus Alcoholism

It is a frequent misconception that a majority of the harmful consequences of alcohol abuse come from alcoholics. Binge drinking is the most common form of alcohol abuse. In actual fact, a very low percentage of binge drinkers actually meet the criteria for alcohol dependence.

Traditionally, a disproportionate amount of our society’s prevention efforts have been directed at the treatment of alcoholism rather than at the more widespread consequences to our society at large of binge drinking. Things are changing.

The increasing presence and availability of high school and college alcohol awareness programs, emergency room alcohol intervention programs, and the rapid adoption of ignition interlock technologies are a few examples of how our perceptions and responses are changing. The availability of accurate personal breath analyzers such as the LifeGuard provide another valuable monitoring tool in the fight against alcohol abuse.

Who Binge Drinks?

Alcohol related deaths are almost as prevalent as drug related deaths. In 2003, 20,600 people died from alcohol induced causes (excluding homicides) versus 28,700 from all manner of drug induced causes (including poisoning from prescribed and non prescribed drugs). Binge drinking is a significant factor in a great many alcohol related deaths.

Manage your BAC with LifeGuard breathalyzer

Women Keeping Up with the Men

Binge drinking is not just an on campus problem. A recently released study by the Joseph Roundtree Foundation of UK drinking patterns found that the proportion of women who binge-drink has almost doubled between 1998 and 2006. In the U.S. the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that girls as young as ninth-graders were just as likely as boys to report drinking alcohol. According to research published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry binge drinking in U.S. woman aged 21 to 23 rose between 1979 and 2006 by more than 40%.

More Information:

Dramatic Increase in Drinking Among Women College Students
Women college students have seen their rates of binge drinking increase dramatically - nearly 40 full article

Alcohol Binges Early in Pregnancy Increase Risk of Infant Oral Clefts
Pregnant women who binge drink early in their pregnancy increase the likelihood that their babies will be born with oral full article

Turning 21 Binge Drinking ("21 for 21")

The "21 for 21" ritual as it has become known challenges those turning 21 to consume 21 drinks (usually shots) in rapid succession. The practice is common on campuses across the nation. In one study at the University of Missouri, it was found that 80% of survey participants reported consuming some alcohol on their birthday. 34 percent of men and 24 percent of women of this group said they had consumed at least 21 drinks. Many became sick and vomited either during or after the event. All became dangerously intoxicated to levels that can cause serious medical harm, black-outs, coma, and even death.

The maximum drinks reported for women was about 30 drinks, while the maximum for men was about 50 drinks. Binging at these levels will raise BAC to even more dangerous levels and potentially turn a celebration into a deadly event.

More Information:

Drinking to Extremes to Celebrate 21
The ritual of drinking 21 or more alcoholic beverages to celebrate the 21st birthday appears to be far more common than full article

21st Birthday Binge Drinking
A word to the wise on your 21st full article

College students binge drinking

On Campus Binge Drinking

Statistics indicate that about 1,400-1,700 students die of alcohol-related causes each year and as many as 500,000 will suffer alcohol related injuries.

Never ride with a driver who has been drinking. Even small amounts of alcohol, below the legal limit, can cause driving impairment and risky driving behavior.

More Information:

College-age Alcohol Deaths Up
On the morning after the house party on Johnson Street, Jenna Foellmi and several other twentysomethings lay sprawled on the beds and couches. When a friend reached out to wake her, Foellmi was cold to the full article

College Drinking, Changing the Culture is your one-stop resource for comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students.

Heavy Drinking Colleges Showing No Improvements
In 1993, 58 percent of students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks; in 2005, 56 percent said the same. And although 28 percent of students in ....Read more

Binge Drinking Tied To Conditions In The College Environment
Heavy alcohol use, or binge drinking, among college students in the United States is tied to conditions in the college environment...Read more

Adolescent Binge Drinking

More Information:

Teen Binge Drinkers Risk Alcoholism And Social Exclusion As Adults
Teen binge drinkers are significantly more likely to become heavy drinkers as adults and find themselves...Read more

Preventing Adolescent Binge Drinking -

The example and attitudes set by parents towards alcohol, and parental education and monitoring of their kids are among the most important factors in preventing adolescent alcohol abuse. Home alcohol BAC testing is both viable and effective in establishing and maintaining a "zero tolerance" home environment.

Binge Drinking in Children

The Elderly also Binge

LifeGuard breathalyzer helps monitor elderly binge drinkers

Other Reasons to Reduce & Monitor Binge Drinking

There are many other possible consequences of alcohol abuse which can be life altering for both the drinker and their victims. It becomes apparent that the accurate BAC testing and regular monitoring of susceptible individuals can play a positive role in preventing or reducing the following alcohol abuse consequences: