Whether you’re in recovery, concerned about a loved one’s drinking or considering recovery for yourself, it can’t hurt to read a reminder about the health dangers of alcohol abuse and, more specifically, binge drinking.
Certainly, by now you know that binge drinking is bad for you – it increases your risk of addiction and suicide – and now a new study reveals that it can mess with your very being, your DNA. And, what’s worse, these long-lasting genetic changes may result in strong alcohol cravings, creating a vicious cycle for those battling alcohol abuse disorder.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent (0.08 grams per 100ml of blood) or above.” This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks – in about two hours.
Researchers at Rutger’s University found that this type of consistent, heavy drinking can actually alter your DNA and worsen a drinker’s alcohol use problem by making him or her want to drink even more. “This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction,” Dipak K. Sarkar, the study’s senior author, said in statement.
Binge drinking was found to disrupt two specific genes: one that regulates stress and one that governs the body’s biological clock. The study authors are hoping these findings can help shed light on prevention and treatment for alcohol use disorders.
More Dangers of Binge Drinking
In addition to these recent findings, binge drinking has been found to increase one’s risk of the following:
- Unintentional injuries (car crashes, falls, burns, alcohol poisoning)
- Sexual assault
- Sexually transmitted diseases.
- Unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage and stillbirth)
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
- Memory and learning problems
- Alcohol dependence
Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder
Binge drinking is most common among young adults ages 18 to 34. At Spearhead Lodge, we provide world-class treatment for young adults struggling with substance use disorder, including alcohol abuse, and give them a vision for what their life of sobriety can look like. To learn more about our extended care for young adults, call us today: 866-905-4550.