(Newswire.net -- February 15, 2017) -- Grabbing a drink with friends is a fun way to spend an evening. A glass of wine after a long day of work helps you decompress and wind down for the night. Alcohol is a part of our culture and society. We use it to calm nerves, relax with friends, commemorate sporting events, and the list goes on. It is such a part of our lives that we forget that it is not a healthy part of lives. Many people get in the habit of consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages several times a week. Over consumption to lead to many long and short term health problems.
One to two drinks per day puts you in the category of moderate drinker according to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,” published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a “pattern of drinking” that results in a blood alcohol level of 0.08 g/dL, typically 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men within about two hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a similar definition. Consuming 5 or more alcoholic drinks for men or 4 or more for women on the same occasion at least one day in the past month is considered binge drinking.
We have all been told since a young age to not binge drink and drive. We know that getting behind the wheel after a night out on the town endangers our lives, the lives of our passengers, and anyone with which we share the road. Yet, many people make the decision to drink and drive regularly. This is due to poor advanced planning and poor decision making while under the influence.
Binge drinking leads to many sudden and temporary side effects. It throws off your coordination and delays your reaction times. It causes dehydration, nausea and shakiness. It impairs your judgment and leaves you in bad situations that can lead to sexual assault or domestic violence. It affects your memory, causing you to lose large swaths of time. And these are just the minor effects.
We tend to view our binge drinking habits as one-night affairs that are quick and dirty and leave us with a nasty hangover in the morning and nothing more. We overlook the long-term consequences of that can result from our behavior. Some of the side effects include liver disease, brain damage, stroke, infertility and cancer. How much you drink, how often, age, gender, weight, and medical history determine the ultimate effects and their severity.
Because the liver acts as a filter for blood coming from the digestive tract. It detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. The more we drink, the more the liver has to work. These can lead to damage down the road. A study at the University of Missouri shows that chronic alcohol consumption is not the only factor in developing alcohol related liver disease. Binge drinking sensitizes the liver over a longer period making it prone to damage.
Having an occasional drink can be fun and relaxing. Overconsumption of alcohol can have real health risks, though. If you are struggling with alcohol, seek help.