Journal of Alcoholism Drug Abuse & Substance Dependence Category: Medical Type: Editorial
Escalation of Binge Drinking and Its Consequences
- Peter Marks1, Roger Williams2*
- 1 Departement Of Public Health, Trnava University, Bar Council, London, UK, Slovakia
- 2 The Institute Of Hepatology, Foundation For Liver Research, London, 69-75 Chenies Mews, London, WC1E 6HX, United Kingdom
*Corresponding Author:Roger Williams
The Institute Of Hepatology, Foundation For Liver Research, London, 69-75 Chenies Mews, London, WC1E 6HX, United Kingdom
Received Date: Jul 24, 2015 Accepted Date: Sep 01, 2015 Published Date: Sep 22, 2015
Methods: A review of recent literature was conducted with particular reference to current prevalence figures, the different definitions used and the distinct complications and associations of binge drinking.
Results: Evidence from several countries including the US and mainland Europe is consistent with the view that the binge pattern of drinking is being increasingly favoured by younger age groups. An association between the binge drinking pattern and use of illegal drugs adds to the high risks of unsafe drinking practices, crime and anti-social behaviour. Medical consequences of binge drinking include acute alcoholic poisoning, sudden cardiac death and an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke although the overlap with chronic heavy drinking can make interpretations of clinical differences difficult. Binge drinking when started during adolescence is a risk factor for continued alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in adulthood.
Conclusion: Measures to control the escalation in frequency of binge drinking require the specific targeting of vulnerable groups such as the school children and students at college.
As to the evidence that the binge drinking pattern of drinking is escalating, in the US binge drinking episodes per person increased by 35% between 1995 and 2001 with the highest rates among those aged 18 to 25 years. Overall, 47% of binge-drinking episodes were in otherwise moderate drinkers . This was also the conclusion in a recent publication of drinking patterns in US counties from 2002 to 2012. Nationally 18.3% of people were considered to be binge drinkers in 2012 . In the UK a survey in 2012 showed that 27% of young people in the UK aged 16-24 were likely to have drunk very heavily (more than 12 units for men and 9 units for women) at least once during the week, with similar percentages for men and women . Most European countries exhibit the same trend towards an increase in binge drinking. In one French 17-year old population cohort, binge drinking episodes occurred over the previous month, on one, three, or ten occasions in 48%, 17.9%, and 2.2% of cases respectively .
As might be expected, family upbringing has been shown to have a major influence on the likelihood of early drinking and adoption of a binge drinking pattern. The variables most predictive in one study were having a single parent, sipping or tasting alcohol by age 10, having parents who also started drinking at an early age, and parental drinking frequency . The association between drinking heavily and attending college may also be larger than previously estimated .
Use of other drugs and energy drinks
CONSEQUENCES OF BINGE DRINKING
Acute alcoholic poisoning
Road traffic accidents and criminal behaviour
Unwanted/unsafe sexual activity
Occurrence of cirrhosis
There is good evidence that the binge drinking pattern, particularly in the young, is escalating and in attempting to control this vulnerable group, students need to be specifically targeted. Parental based interventions  and alcohol abuse prevention programmes  have been shown to be effective in reducing high risk drinking amongst college students. Although a binge drinking pattern may not always be associated with overall excess alcohol consumption in terms of the weekly safe alcohol limits, certain consequences appear to be specifically associated with it namely, sudden death, cardiovascular mortality and cerebral events, crime and anti-social behaviour, dangerous driving and sexual related risks. Furthermore, binge drinking is likely to lead to dependency and high alcohol consumption in later life.
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Citation:Marks P, Williams R (2015) Escalation of Binge Drinking and Its Consequences. J Alcohol Drug Depend Subst Abus 1: 001.
Copyright: © 2015 Peter Marks, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.