Sydney has known Lisa since they were in elementary school together, but lately their friendship has been strained. Lisa's drinking on weekends has turned her into a completely different person. Lisa used to get good grades and play sports, but since she started drinking she hasn't been finishing assignments and she has quit the dance team. When Sydney saw Lisa drink five beers in 30 minutes at two different parties, she realized how serious Lisa's problem was. She knows what Lisa is doing: binge drinking.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking used to mean drinking heavily over several days. Now, however, the term refers to the heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time.
Today the generally accepted definition of binge drinking in the United States is consuming five or more drinks in a row by men — or four or more drinks in a row by women — at least once in the previous 2 weeks. Heavy binge drinking includes three or more such episodes in 2 weeks.
Why Do People Binge Drink?
Liquor stores, bars, and alcoholic beverage companies make drinking seem attractive and fun. It's easy for a high school student to get caught up in a social scene with lots of peer pressure. Inevitably, one of the biggest areas of peer pressure is drinking.
Other reasons why people drink include:
• They're curious — they want to know what it's like to drink alcohol.
• They believe that it will make them feel good; not realizing it could just as easily make them sick and hung-over.
• They may look at alcohol as a way to reduce stress, even though it can end up creating more stress.
• They want to feel older.
What Are the Risks of Binge Drinking?
Many people don't think about the negative side of drinking. Although they think about getting drunk, they may not give much consideration to being hung-over, throwing up, passing out or other dangerous side effects.
You may know from experience that excessive drinking can lead to difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, mood changes, and other problems that affect your day-to-day life. But binge drinking carries more serious and longer-lasting risks as well.
For More Information:
 The Children's Hospital