The harsh effects of alcohol abuse are well known, ranging from liver problems to brain damage. It is mainly assumed that alcoholics are most likely to be harmed, but even those who don’t drink every day can be affected. While a few drinks over an occasional Saturday night will not likely be harmful to your health, serious binge drinking can lead to serious health issues.
The Usual Suspects
Headache, nausea, vomiting and thirst are some of the most common and well-known short-term side effects of drinking alcohol. The ethanol in alcohol causes dehydration, leading to dry mouth, fatigue and headaches. Nausea occurs when the alcohol interacts with the lining of the stomach. Binge drinking, defined as drinking more than five drinks in a two-hour time frame, can make these symptoms worse than drinking at a more moderate pace.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include slow breathing, seizures, vomiting, confusion and sleeping too deep to be woken. Alcohol is a sedative and can affect the nerves that control breathing and the gag reflex. This is particularly dangerous as it is possible for a person to stop breathing or choke on vomit after drinking too much in too short a time. Since blood alcohol content can continue to go up even during sleep as the alcohol is processed by the body, it is not safe to assume a person can just sleep it off safely.
Mental and Physical Problems
Binge drinking can also cause memory loss and neurological problems. Since reaction times are slowed, vision may be blurred and walking may be difficult, leading to falls and other accidents. Since the liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the body, large quantities of alcohol may damage this vital organ. Lastly, binge drinking increases chances for high blood pressure, sexual problems and diabetes complications.
Thanks to impaired judgment, binge drinkers can find themselves doing embarrassing or harmful activities they wouldn’t do normally. Arguments, fights and even assaults can arise from alcohol-induced mood swings. Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Binge drinking can cause reckless driving. Some drivers may get off easily with just a fender bender, but a serious accident can cause life-threatening injuries.
Peer pressure, often during a big event, is one cause of binge drinking. It’s important to know your limits and exercise moderation, even when others are urging you to gulp that drink. This will help keep you, and your good time, safe.
Lynn has been freelance writing for several years, and is the mother of three growing boys with one baby girl on the way, and wife to a loving man.
Lynn is currently promoting the Delray Recovery Center in Delray Beach Florida, and recommends those looking for help with addiction to go to http://www.delrayrecoverycenter.com/drug-rehab/florida-drug-rehab/ for more information.