Binge Drinking: What It Does to Your Body

Binge drinking is defined by NIAAA as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08g/dL or above. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in about two hours. Some individuals will reach a 0.08g/dL BAC sooner depending on body weight. Binge drinking is known to pose health and safety risks, including car crashes and injuries. Over the long term, binge drinking can damage the liver and other organs. On average, 6 people died every day from alcohol poisoning in the US from 2010 to 2012.

Can Binge Drinking Kill You

That said, certain patterns of alcohol use do pose some cause for concern. This form of arthritis results from painful buildup of uric acid in the joints. You can get gout from eating too much food high in chemicals called purines, which include red meat, shellfish, and alcohol — especially beer and liquor. Too much alcohol can harm you physically and mentally in lots of ways. A fatty liver is more prone to inflammation, and this inflammation can cause issues like cirrhosis.

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?

Binge drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol can affect many parts of your body, including your kidneys. A little alcohol—one or two drinks now and then—usually how does alcoholism kill you has no serious effects. For some cancers, even less than one drink in a day can increase risk. The less alcohol a person drinks, the lower the risk of these types of cancer.

So, you don’t have to wait until alcohol use feels uncontrollable before reaching out for help. If you want to cut back on your drinking — or quit drinking alcohol altogether — you have plenty of options. As you might have noticed, none of these criteria specify an amount of alcohol.


If you drink more alcohol than what your liver can process, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will increase. Long-term damage from heavy alcohol use isn’t limited to people with alcohol use disorder. Alcohol in the form of ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is in alcoholic beverages.

  • You may be given fluids, which may be given into your veins with a drip.
  • Be aware of the alcohol content of what you’re drinking and adjust how much you drink based on this knowledge.
  • Teenagers and young adults who drink may be at particular risk for alcohol overdose.
  • The liver is also responsible for detoxifying your body from chemicals and drugs in addition to making proteins that impact blood clotting.
  • ” Furthermore, if you choose to have alcohol later in the evening, you will be too full to binge on it.

Whether or not you want to forget that night, drinking too much alcohol is not the way to do it. Drinking too much and too quickly can lead to significant impairments in motor coordination, decision-making, impulse control, and other functions, increasing the risk of harm. Continuing to drink despite clear signs of significant impairments can result in an alcohol overdose. The more you drink, especially in a short period of time, the greater your risk of alcohol poisoning. When you binge drink, you not only ruin your health but also become a risk to others.

Binge drinking is a serious but preventable public health problem.

If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. Alcohol can have additional effects on developing brains, which are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. This makes the risk of long-term and permanent brain damage more likely.

  • Alcohol use disorder (AUD), formerly known as alcoholism and alcohol addiction, describes a long-term pattern of alcohol use that becomes difficult to control.
  • People who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners.
  • Frequent binge drinking or excessive drinking can have significant long-term health impacts that can slowly lead to organ failure or death.
  • That may give you ulcers, inflammation, and other problems.

Heavy or binge drinking, on the other hand, can also interfere with your brain’s communication pathways and affect how your brain processes information. For students who binge drink, getting drunk is often the main goal. These include dizziness, loss of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of judgment, or even passing out. If a person vomits when passed out, the airway can become blocked. You may know about the dangers of blood clots and high levels of fats and cholesterol in your body.

Women, older people, and those with smaller bodies should be especially careful. Of course, pregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol. People who drink too much are more likely to have high blood pressure.

Driving when physically and mentally impaired from drinking also increases the chances of vehicle crashes. Effects of binge drinking such as elevated blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms can cause heart failure. People with diabetes who are on medication for lowering blood sugar may go into a coma if glucose levels fall rapidly after a bout of excessive drinking.

Alcohol use and taking opioids or sedative hypnotics, such as sleep and anti-anxiety medications, can increase your risk of an overdose. Examples of these medications include sleep aids, such as zolpidem and eszopiclone, and benzodiazepines, such as diazepam and alprazolam. Even drinking alcohol while taking over-the-counter antihistamines can be dangerous. There’s not a lot of research on how long the physical effects of binge drinking last, or whether your body can recover completely.

  • But you can keep yourself from drinking too much by choosing soda or non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Endotoxins are toxins contained in the cell wall of certain bacteria that are released when the cell is destroyed.
  • The researchers found that the alcohol binge resulted in a rapid increase in endotoxin levels in the blood and evidence of bacterial DNA, showing that bacteria had permeated the gut.
  • The dangers of binge drinking get lost behind these images.
  • Drinking veterans, for example, use alcohol as a coping mechanism for PTSD.

A single night of binge drinking has a number of other effects, especially at higher amounts. Or by depressing the gag reflex, which puts a person who has passed out at risk of choking on their own vomit. You cannot escape situations, places, and people that nudge you to have one more drink.

The short and simple answer to whether or not binge drinking can kill you is yes. Binge drinking is very dangerous, and depending on how much you drink at once, even your first experience binge drinking can be fatal. In these cases, potentially life-threatening conditions could develop. It is dangerous to assume that an unconscious person will be fine by sleeping it off.

Can Binge Drinking Kill You

His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly. No, you don’t have to forego social events where alcohol is served. But you can keep yourself from drinking too much by choosing soda or non-alcoholic beverages. In general, for an average adult male, a lethal dose of alcohol is between 5 and 8 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight. If that adult is 60 kg, or 132 pounds, death is more likely to occur after a liter of spirits or four bottles of wine.

Experts typically define binge drinking by the number of standard drinks you consume in a single period of 2 hours or less. Your age and the sex you were assigned at birth determine your threshold. A single alcohol binge can cause bacteria to leak from the gut and increase levels of bacterial toxins in the blood, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Can Binge Drinking Kill You

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