Binge drinking, an issue that warranted little to no concern or addressment in the United States a half a century ago, has risen to become one of the most significant health problems in the United States today. More relaxed, punitive laws on illegal drinking coupled with a nation-wide increase in the general acceptance of alcohol consumption has invoked a large degree of alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, and binge drinking nation wide.
Statistics on the Issue: Binge Drinking Approaching a National Crisis
A recent study was done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), on the prevalence of binge drinking in college students, (the demographic of the United States that suffers the most from binge drinking). Some of the findings have been included below:
• Binge drinking often begins for most Americans around age thirteen, its prevalence decreases during adolescence, and peaks during the age range of 18 to 22.
• A national survey revealed that an alarming 42% of college students reported binge drinking.
• On those college campuses where 70% or more of the student body binge drinks, 87% of all students on campus have experienced one or more problems such as physical assault, sexual harassment, and impaired sleep and study time as a result of their peers’ drinking habits.
• Half of students who binge drink do so more than once a week, and a quarter of such students do so more than twice a week.
• Half of all frequent binge drinkers report having five or more different alcohol-related problems during the school year, (twenty times the rate of such problems as students who drink but do not binge).
• Only one in five of all college students is a frequent (or weekly) binge drinker, but two-thirds of the alcohol consumed by college students is consumed by this group.
• Over 60% of all injuries, vandalism, and problems with the police reported on college campuses are in frequent (weekly) binge drinkers.
• 24.5% of those who start drinking at age 17 or younger develop alcohol dependence.
• 10% of those who start drinking at age 21 or older develop alcohol dependence.
What Happens when One Abuses Alcohol and Eats Poorly
As if binge drinking was not bad enough, a new trend has arisen in the United States. This is that of binge drinking while not eating at all, or binge drinking while eating too much. The health risks of this almost go without saying.
For many of the United States’ youth, particularly with women, binge drinking is now seen to have become far more prevalent amongst young adults suffering with anorexia or bulimia. Young adults are now seeking a faster and cheaper buzz by drinking on an empty stomach. Since alcohol fills the stomach, this has proven to be somewhat effective in curbing appetite and hunger. The physical toll this takes however is almost insurmountable, and if it is not corrected then a whole new issue with alcoholism could be seen to unfold in upcoming years.