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 a 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. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 37.9 percent of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6 percent of other persons of the same age.
Here are some interesting facts about binge drinking from the CDC Website:
1. Binge drinking is most common among young adults aged 18–34 and least common in the 65+ age group.
2. One in six adults binge drinks approximately 4x's per month, consuming about 8 drinks per binge.
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.
7. Most people (90%) who binge drink are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics.
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. Some college students are known to 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.
It is fascinating that there is a household income associated with binge drinking, when it does span across all socioeconomic classifications. Is it an epidemic in college or is it that over time, college drinking has received more media attention when compared to other populations? Are there more consequences associated with college binge drinking such as injuries, assault and death? 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.
Dr. Deb is a successful Psychologist who practices in New York City. She is an Anxiety Specialist who works with adolescents and adults providing both individual and couples counseling.