There has been quite a bit of press over the past few years regarding binge drinking. In the United States, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as consuming so much alcohol in a two hour period that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is at .08. For men, this is approximately 5 drinks and for women, about 4 drinks during this two hour time period.
When we hear the term binge drinking many of us think of college students as the primary population of those who consume alcohol in this fashion. Here are some interesting facts about binge drinking from the CDC Website:
1. While binge drinking is more common among young adults aged 18–34, binge drinkers who are 65 years and older report binge drinking more often, an average of five to six times a month.
2. One in six adults binge drink approximately 4x's per month.
3. Adults 26 and older are involved in 70% of binge drinking episodes.
4. 90% of the alcohol consumed by underage drinkers involves binge drinking.
5. More than half of the alcohol consumed in the United States involves binge drinking.
6. Binge drinking is more common among those whose household income is $75,000 or higher.
Is binge drinking a rite of passage when in college or has it become an epidemic? It appears that binge drinking is not just for college students. Yes, college students commonly binge drink, but they are not alone. Based on the information from the CDC, binge drinking spans across all age groups, including underage drinkers as well as the elderly populations. Based on this information it is possible that an underage drinker may be a binge drinker and the older sibling in college may also be a binge drinker as well as their parents and grandparents.
It is fascinating that there is a household income associated with binge drinking. Is it possible that you are less likely to binge drink if you make less money? Maybe this specific episodic drinking we call binge drinking is not as prevalent across the board, in all socioeconomic spheres. Is it an epidemic, or is it that over time, college drinking received media attention and the other populations are not viewed as news worthy? Is it that the American population is more interested in reading and hearing about college drinking and less interested in hearing about elderly consumption of alcohol? Alcohol use and abuse spans across all socioeconomic classifications and age groups and it looks like binge drinking is following suit.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only.