Binge Drinking can have severe implications on a person’s body, mind and spirit. As a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above, Binge Drinking typically occurs when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours.*
If you think this problem only applies to 20-somethings, think again. A study from the CDC found that the majority of deaths from binge drinking happen among people ages 35-64.
How Binge Drinking Impacts Health
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol poisoning “occurs when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions (such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control) begin to shut down.”
Knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning can save lives:
- Mental confusion or stupor – Can’t speak or doesn’t make sense.
- Passed out and can’t be roused – May already be in a coma.
- Vomiting – Throwing up is not a normal result of drinking.
- Seizures – The body shakes or convulses.
- Irregular breathing – Taking 10 seconds or more between breaths.
- Hypothermia – The person is cool to the touch, is pale or has bluish skin color.
*Blood alcohol levels can continue to rise even when a person stops drinking or is passed out. Don’t wait for all of the signs to appear before seeking medical help. Long term and permanent injuries may include Stroke, Liver Damage, Heart Disease, Brain Damage, Diabetes and more.
When Low-Risk Drinking Becomes A Problem
It’s safest to avoid alcohol altogether if you are:
- taking medications that interact with alcohol
- managing a medical condition
- planning to drive a vehicle
- pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- Additional Risks for those with Diabetes
About 1 in 4 people who exceed these limits already suffer from alcohol abuse and the rest are at risk of developing it.
Why are women’s low-risk limits different from men’s?
Women begin to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men. One reason is that, on average, women weigh less than men. In addition, alcohol disperses in body water and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men. After a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm. For more info, see Alcohol: A Women’s Health Issue.
Binge Drinking: A Self-Assessment
Answering “Yes” to more than 3 of these is a sign that you may benefit from seeking help:
- Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week, but your sobriety only lasted a few days?
- Do you ever try to get extra drinks at a party because you need more booze to have fun?
- When you have a hard day or feel under pressure, do you drink heavily?
- Do you ever wake up in the morning after drinking not remembering part of the night before?
- Do you feel guilty about your drinking?
- Do you sometimes stay drunk for days at a time?
For more information on the new Louisiana DWI laws and other facts click here
Most of us have had the experience of being out with friends, sharing a few drinks, and then piling into a car to head home. Do you ever wonder if you should be the one who insists on calling a cab instead?
Did you know that beginning in 2015 Louisiana DWI laws included more time behind bars (no pun intended) for offenders? Under the new law, 1st time offenders can face a minimum of 10 days in jail, with 32 hours of community service, and a 2nd offense can mean 30 or more days behind bars.
Here are a few Alcohol Facts, which may change your mind about going home in a cab:
- Every day in the USA, 28 people are killed in drunk driving crashes and 100s more are injured.
- Alcohol is world’s most used drug, and the drug that most frequently sends users to the emergency room, and yet less than 60 % of heavy drinkers recognize that their habits put them at high risk, according to Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) .
- Drinking caffeine will NOT sober you up. “Caffeine can actually do more harm than good,” says Warren. “Caffeine is a stimulant, and because of that, a person’s going to be more awake but just as much impaired,” he says. “It can give an individual a false degree of confidence that they are not impaired,” he says, which could lead to riskier behavior and dangerous decisions.
Good judgement can save lives!
Helping a Friend Confront Alcohol Abuse
It’s natural to feel hesitation in speaking with a friend about heavy drinking.
- Timing is Everything: Timing your conversation correctly could mean the difference between a success and a disaster. If possible, try to time your conversation close to, or directly after your friend has experienced a problem as the result of binge drinking.
- Consequences Matter: Talk about how their drinking is already having a negative effect on their life. Focus on how their drinking affects you and others they are close to.
- Don’t Lecture: Remember you’re friends; keep your conversation friendly and casual. Avoid sermons and judgments, and making demands or using labels like “alcoholic.” You might begin your conversation by saying something like “As you know, I care a lot about you and our friendship. It’s because I care so much that I want to talk with you about something that has me concerned…”
- Expect the Worst: There is no denying the fact that your friend may get angry at you for bringing up their binge drinking. Don’t take their anger personally; it is part of their denial. Chances are, even if your concerns are rejected, you opened the door to self-reflection for your friend.
- Be Ready to Help: When your friend realizes they have a problem, be ready to offer assistance in finding help.
Alcohol continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream even after someone stops drinking. Telling a friend to stop who’s been drinking heavily, can save their life.
For NOMC patients in need, please call 504-412-1366.
The NOMC is very pleased to announce that Odyssey House Louisiana (OHL), is now providing services to our patients seeking recovery. Established in 1973, OHL offers comprehensive services and effective support systems- nonprofit behavioral healthcare facility with an emphasis on addiction treatment including detox, treatment, physical and mental healthcare, life-skills, counseling and case management that enable individuals to chart new lives and return to our cultural community.
Musicians Gone Too Soon
Amy Jade Winehouse
14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011Winehouse won five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the record at that time for the most wins by a female artist in a single night. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011 at the age of 27.
born Eleanora Fagan April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959 On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York where she died at the age of 44 from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.
James Douglas “Jim” Morrison
December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971The lead singer of the rock band, The Doors. Morrison developed an alcohol dependency which led to his death at the age of 27 in Paris.
Alcoholism is a disease afflicting millions of people worldwide. Luckily, it’s also a treatable health problem:
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- Alcohol Policy Information System
- Binge Drinking & Your Health
Self-Assessment and Understanding – The following sites provide questionnaires to help you assess whether or not you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol.
Support – These groups offer support and guidance for alcoholics as well as family and friends of people with alcohol and substance abuse problems.