For many young adults, alcohol begins to play an outsized role in their social lives. If you spend a lot of your free time at parties where beer and other alcoholic beverages are readily available, you might have experienced peer pressure to binge drink, even if you didn’t originally intend to. What are some of the risks of heavy drinking to a point where it impairs your health and your decision-making abilities?
The Dangers of Heavy Drinking in Young Adulthood
There are specific consequences of spending weekend after weekend in a boozy blur. Consider the following health risks that are possible in heavy drinkers.
- Poor sleep hygiene: Staying out late so you can drink longer is a bad habit because of the way alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns. Even if you manage to get a full night’s sleep, it likely will not be restorative enough, and you will still be tired when you wake up. Sleep deprivation makes you more likely to have trouble concentrating the following day, which will cause problems at school or work.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Because alcohol lowers inhibitions and causes people to make bad decisions, you might engage in unprotected sex after a bout of binge drinking, putting you in danger of spreading HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Organ and tissue damage: You might already be aware that overuse of alcohol can harm your liver. But did you know heavy drinking can also take a toll on your brain, nervous system, heart and pancreas? Alcohol abuse can even increase your risk of developing specific types of cancer.
- Alcohol use disorder: Young adults who develop a pattern of heavy drinking increase their likelihood of developing full-fledged alcoholism later in life.
- Depression and anxiety: Substance misuse and mental health challenges go hand in hand. Some people turn to alcohol to mute the symptoms of problems like anxiety and depression, while others experience these issues as a result of heavy drinking. To make matters worse, alcohol use magnifies the side effects of mood disorders, and vice versa.
- Blacking out: Blacking out from alcohol does not mean someone falls asleep or passes out. Indeed, one reason blackouts are so dangerous is that people in blackout conditions continue to behave as they normally would. Because of the way alcohol impairs judgment, a person in a blackout might drive themselves home from a party or have entire conversations with no memory of doing so.
- Alcohol poisoning: The most immediate risk of overusing any drug, including alcohol, is an overdose. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include nausea, disorientation, seizures and loss of consciousness, and this condition can quickly be fatal without medical treatment.
Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults
If you’re a young adult who has yet to experience any negative consequences of binge drinking, you might feel as if you’re invincible and that you can continue your habit for as long as you like. However, the problems will eventually catch up to you, which is why early treatment is necessary to avoid developing an alcohol addiction that haunts you for the rest of your life.
At Spearhead Lodge, we focus specifically on the needs of young men struggling with substance abuse and its related issues. In doing so, we make it possible for our clients to rediscover their full potential in life. Reach out to us today to learn more.