Dangers of Binge Drinking

an image of people drinking for the blog dangers of binge drinking

What is considered binge drinking?

Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of alcohol to intoxication in a short period of time and a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. A drink consists of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking, potentially leading to a coma or death.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Mental confusion or unconsciousness
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Pale, clammy, or bluish skin

Long-Term effects of excessive drinking

Drinking alcohol excessively and frequently for a long period of time can cause harm to several parts of the body. These include:

Brain damage

  • Adverse effects on memory function, concentration, reasoning, planning and visuo-spatial skills.
  • Stroke

Diseases in digestive system

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Stomach cancer

Heart problems

  • Heart muscle disorders
  • Heartbeat rhythm irregularities
  • High blood pressure

Cancer risks

  • Increase risk of breast, mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, and colon cancers

Liver diseases

  • Liver function is affected
  • Development of fatty liver, which can lead to liver cirrhosis (scarring)
  • Alcoholic hepatitis (signs include swollen liver, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, bleeding, jaundice)

Psychological problems

  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and insomnia

Sexual and hormonal dysfunctions

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lowering of testosterone concentrations
  • Sperm growth is affected
  • Lowered fertility in women
  • Altered hormonal levels in premenopausal women, which increases the risk of osteoporosis

Skeletal muscle damage

  • Skeletal muscle myopathy (reduction of muscle weight and lean tissue wasting)​

Other alcohol-related problems

  • Accidents, injuries and high-risk behaviours

Drink driving accounts for a large proportion of those injured or killed in road traffic accidents. Also, alcohol abuse is associated with high-risk behaviours such as physical assaults and risky sexual behaviour.

  • Pregnancy and/or child developmental problems

Prenatal exposure to high levels of alcohol has been associated with a range of developmental problems such as foetal alcohol syndrome, causing permanent birth defects.

  • Lower participation and involvement in daily activities

Binge drinking and subsequent hangovers contribute to the loss of productivity and/or absenteeism.

Dr Jacky Shee
Family Physician
Healthway Medical (Woodlands)
Blk 888 Woodlands Drive 50 #02-737
888 Plaza (near Admiralty MRT station)
Singapore 730888
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