Short Term and Long Term Effects of Binge Drinking
In western society, the consumption of alcohol is associated with celebrations, festivities and as a means to commemorate special events. However it is one thing to have the occasional glass of wine or beer, but when the drinking becomes excessive, it becomes a cause for concern. Binge drinking, which refers to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, has been shown to have both short-term, as well as long-term, negative effects.
Frequently consumption of alcohol can possibly lead to alcohol dependence. Having a physical or psychological dependence to alcohol, continued consumption of alcohol despite significant dysfunction as the result of alcohol consumption, as well as evident hardship due to alcohol consumption are all signs of alcohol dependence.
Short-Term Effects of Binge Drinking
- Lack of hand-eye coordination
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired vision
- Changes in metabolic rates and bodily functions
In cases of extreme binge drinking, alcohol toxicity can occur which can result in coma.
Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking
- Alterations in brain structure which consequently effect memory & cognitive function
- Changes in liver structure and function
- Changes in heart structure and function
- Sexual dysfunction including erectile dysfunction
Indirect Effects of Binge Drinking
In addition to the direct effects both short-term and long-term alcohol consumption have on the body, there are indirect effects which can be equally as devastating, such as:
- Lowered inhibitions resulting in higher chance of taking high-risk behaviors such as driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
- For pregnant women, damaging and often permanent effects such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) on their unborn child
- Increased chance of higher-risk sexual behaviors as well as a higher chance of being taken advantage of
For most, drinking responsibly is a way to help reduce tension and relax. When consumed in moderation and under controlled circumstances, it can be an enjoyable compliment to an already great experience. It is essential to practice responsible drinking both for the safety of yourself and others around you.