Sam Spady was 19 years old when she died. She was a sophomore at Colorado State University, and – throughout high school – she was an honors student, and captain of her school’s cheerleading squad.
According to ABC News, Spady was ruled dead in a fraternity house on Labor Day weekend 2004. The night before, Spady had been partying at the fraternity. During the binge-drinking, Spady was taken to another room in the fraternity to “sleep off” the drunkenness. She wasn’t found until the next morning, when a fraternity brother was showing his parent’s around the house. Her blood alcohol level was determined to be .436% – five times the legal limit for an adult 21 or over.
What is Binge-Drinking?
If you want statistics on how to describe binge-drinking, then a man having five or more drinks in two hours, and a woman having four or more drinks in 2 hours is binge drinking. However, binge-drinking can apply loosely to consuming a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time – once in two weeks, typically. With so much pressure to fit in, it’s easy for kids in high school, college, and even young adults to participate in binge-drinking at some point in their lives.
Those who participate in binge-drinking can’t be classified as an alcoholic. Alcoholism has specific characteristics that aren’t met by someone classified at a binge-drinker. For instance:
- The development of a tolerance – needing more and more in order to feel “normal”
- Withdrawal – when without alcohol for a period of time, a person may experience nausea, sweating and shaking
- Losing interest in other aspects of life – hobbies, school, loved ones, friends, etc.
- Having legal problems with drinking – repeated arrests, confrontations, driving, etc.
Binge-drinkers meet a different set of signs and symptoms, but can eventually lead to alcoholism in some cases.
Binge-Drinking is often associated with young adults and teenagers – 48% of college-age kids binge-drink at social events, parties, and bars. As a matter of fact, about 44% of all college students have been classified as binge-drinkers consistently for the past 10 years. Some scarier statistics?
- 1,400 college students die each year from binge-drinking
- 500,000 college students are injured while binge-drinking
- 70,000 cases of sexual assault are reported while binge-drinking was involved
How exactly does binge-drinking lead to so many deaths in this specific demographic? Alcohol-poisoning is an inevitable fate for anyone who participates in binge-drinking – remember, that’s consuming a large amount of alcohol at least once every two weeks. The sad truth, is that alcohol-poisoning can not only be prevented by drinking responsibly, but it can also be treated, so-long as the signs are noticed in time.
So many college-aged and high school-aged kids don’t recognize the symptoms of alcohol-poisoning, and, if they do, think that they will simply empty their stomachs or sleep it off and be okay the next day. Knowing the signs can save yours or a loved one’s life one day:
- Extreme confusion
- Inability to be awakened
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Low body temperature
- Bluish or pale skin
Binge-Drinking: The Physical and Mental Effects
Physically, the most common health issues a person may face, occurs while the person is participating in binge-drinking. One of the effects, extreme confusion – or impaired judgement – can result in a number of harmful, even deadly, actions. For instance, a person who has been binge-drinking may often believe that he or she is “OK” to drive. However, in 2000, 1/3 of people 16 or older that were killed in car accidents were under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Just because you don’t drink and drive doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt. People who have impaired judgement under the influence of alcohol are more likely to have unprotected sex, more likely to be involved in an assault, and more likely to fall.
Later in life, a person who binge-drinks is more likely to be overweight and more likely to have high blood-pressure and other diseases relating to obesity. Imagine, one beer has about 150 calories. Think of how many “empty calories” you are consuming just in beer while binge-drinking. All of that will add up and cause problems with your weight and overall health later in life.
Mentally, binge-drinking can lead to problems concentrating – many students who are heavy binge-drinkers find it hard to keep good grades in school, and may even drop out. Your sleep cycle can be off, leading to problems staying awake and concentrating. Also, people who binge-drink may drift away from friends because of changes in personality when consuming alcohol.
How Do I Get Help for Binge-Drinking?
If you or a loved one suspect that binge-drinking is becoming a problem, please contact an addiction professional today. Serenity Acres has different treatment programs available that can help stop binge-drinking, and prevent a future in alcoholism.