Did you know that drinking four or more alcoholic drinks during one sitting is considered binge drinking? According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is becoming more of an issue for adults in the United States.
In fact, “more than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink an average of four times a month and the most drinks they consume on average is eight,” according to the report.
Binge drinking can lead to death in some cases, and can put people at risk for health issues like liver disease and cancer, as well as car crashes and violence, the report states. The physical consequences are documented, but how is mental health impacted by binge drinking? Experts weigh in on the situation.
Jeff Wolfsberg, a drug education specialist who has been interviewed for FOX News and other news outlets, said in an email that first of all binge drinking as a term isn’t so clear-cut as it appears.
“Depending on the person's tolerance and how people define ‘session,’ you can get a lot of debate,” Wolfsberg said. “With [the report’s] definition, almost all college drinkers binge. But for some, a few beers/drinks can cause harm.”
He offers an alternative term instead of binge drinking to lessen the confusion.
“I prefer to use the term ‘dangerous drinking’ when conducting workshops,” Wolfsberg said. “This is drinking in a manner that can cause harm [by] impairing a person's physical and emotional well-being. It allows each person to create their own standard of what that means rather than attaching a number.”
That being said, Wolfsberg explained that dangerous drinking can harm mental health, and mental health issues can even lead to the drinking issues.
“The chicken and the egg problems exists, because when treating someone you ask is the depression/anxiety causing the heavy drinking, or is the heavy drinking causing the depression and anxiety,” he said.
“Both are true. I think most dangerous drinking masks an internal emotional conflict that is only worsened by heavy drinking. It is important for anyone working with someone who has depression or anxiety to ask about drinking and other drug use.”