Binge Drinking

The term binge drinking has changed as times have. Binge drinking used to refer to heavy drinking over several days, but now it is used to describe heavy drinking in short periods of time. In the past when you went away for a holiday and you drank heavily, that was binging. Now when you go out to a club or party and consume all that alcohol it is binging.

The accepted definition of binging is five or more drinks for men and four or more for women. This is not five shooters, shots or beers but five units. So if you had one shot and four beers, you are binging, if you have five shooters you are binging. If you are doing this three or more times a week, you are an excessive binge drinker.

Drinking seems like a fun thing to do. In South Africa there is a culture of drinking. We drink at sports games, we braai and drink, we go out and drink, we party and drink, we drink and drink even more. Television, movies, adverts and most forms of popular culture portray drinking in fun attractive manner with beautiful girls and hot guys having a party, all thanks to a few drinks. It's an attractive scene and all your friends are doing it. With people being social creatures that acceptance is pretty important. Your peers will respect you if you do what they do, or so goes the popular wisdom. But it may not actually be true; if you study hard, stay out of trouble, stay sober, get an education and make a success out your life will that not ensure more respect than if you get drunk and party all the time and in the end your life never advances beyond getting enough money together for another party.

When you binge drink you lose track of things. Time, money and your self-respect. You can also feel invincible and able to accomplish amazing physical feats, that is until you injure yourself while drunk and the peer group you so desperately wanted respect from is unable to help you because they are all as drunk if not drunker than you.

Young people also drink because they are curious about the taste of alcohol and what its effect on them will be. Alcohol generally does not taste good. You acquire the taste, which means that you have to become used to it. Logically this should tell you that alcohol tastes bad and only by forcing your body to accept it will it begin to taste good.

Its effect on you will range from feelings of nausea, giddiness to wooziness, sleepiness to passing out and a range of other side-effects. If you are stressed and you drink as a stress reliever, then you should know that alcohol can cause more stress on your body and drunkenness and cause stressful situations. If you are drinking to seem older, then there is some good news. Alcohol dries your skin and damages your internal organs, so not only will you feel older you will also look older.

You should not drink and if you are going to drink you should not drink in excess. You will be unable to legally perform the majority of physical tasks. You can not drive a car, walk straight, talk legibly and trying to chat to that person who's eye you caught earlier will probably be embarrassing for them at the time and you when and if you remember. You will lose your inhibitions and not in a good way. It will not be a case of you becoming a smooth-talking dance floor legend. No, you will be that blathering idiot who was knocking people over whilst stumbling on the dance floor.

Clinically speaking if you binge drink the following can occur. The bladder may rupture if overfilled and not emptied. You prevent this by urinating. But if you are too drunk to realise that you need to go, you won't. Your body may decide to take action by itself and empty your bladder wherever you happen to be. So instead of a ruptured bladder you will simply be embarrassed in front of the same people you were hoping to impress with your drinking abilities.

Symptoms of a ruptured bladder include localized pain and uraemia (poisoning due to reabsorbed waste). You can die from septic blood poisoning - this is when there is bacteria in your bloodstream. A person is more likely to urinate while passed out before the bladder ruptures, as alcohol relaxes the muscles that normally enable one to hold their bladder. So you can also stain yourself while lying passed out on a pavement. You will be remembered for that.

There is also something called alcohol poisoning. This is when you overdose on alcohol and you can die. The result is called alcohol poisoning (overdose), which can be fatal. You may also die from choking to death on your own vomit. Jimi Hendrix died like this, chocking to death on his vomit.

Also look at : Alcohol Abuse

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Page updated: 12 December 2013