A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that binge drinking is far more common than previously thought, affecting 1 in 6 adults in the United States. The study reports that most drunk drivers binge drink, which accounts for half of the 80,000 alcohol-related driving deaths each year.
The authors define binge drinking among men as 5 alcoholic beverages within a short period of time and 4 beverages for women. Binge drinking was found to be twice as likely among men as women, and the highest prevalence of binge drinking was found in the ages 18 to 34 age bracket. Moreover, the highest frequency of binge drinking occurred in those 65 and older. The income group most likely to binge drink earns $75,000 a year or more annually, while the income group that binge drinks the most often and drinks the most during each binge is $25,000 and below.
These findings come on the heels of another recent study that indicated that individuals involved in romantic relationships with binge drinkers are far more likely to binge drink themselves, suggesting that binge drinking may be “contagious” for individuals who otherwise would not become binge drinkers.
One of the most noteworthy implications of these findings is that binge drinking, which in many cases may not meet the traditional medical diagnostic criteria for alcoholism, represents a far greater personal and public health risk than previously thought. These findings also represent a continuing trend toward broadening our understanding of the multiple ways in which problematic drinking can reduce health and quality of life even when an individual does not meet the traditional definition of “alcoholic”.
If you, or someone you know needs help with binge drinking, please contact Great Lakes Psychology Group at (800) 693-1916.