Restorations Therapy Blog

The Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

by on Monday, October 11th, 2021

In the past, “going on a binge” referred to multiple days of excessive drinking or using. However, in recent years, the definition of binge drinking has changed. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent in about two hours. 

Alcohol misuse is the fifth-leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide. Because binge drinking is not a pattern of use that occurs every day, some may never consider it to be a misuse of alcohol. 

Therefore, they may not consider the short and long-term effects binge drinking has on their health and wellbeing. Learning about the long-term risks of binge drinking may motivate you or a loved one to seek treatment. 

Organ Damage

 “Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Body,” a study that was conducted and written by Steve Nelson and Patricia Molina in 2018 and published in Alcohol Research, displays the many dangers that binge drinking can present to the body. 

High blood alcohol levels, like those seen in binge drinking, are concerning because alcohol can penetrate almost all tissues in the human body. The three organs most impacted by binge drinking are the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, and the pancreas:

#1. The Gastrointestinal Tract

Because alcohol first visits the stomach, and binge drinking is typically not happening with food consumption, the gastrointestinal tract is subject to the most burden. 

Alcohol can break down the lining in the stomach and increase stomach acid production. This excess stomach acid can lead to ulcers, which are painful and uncomfortable. 

#2. The Liver

The liver is the organ that receives the second most amount of alcohol concentrations when it comes to binge drinking. Binge drinking increases liver injury and is a major trigger for the accumulation of fat deposits in the liver.

#3. The Pancreas

Binge drinking has been associated with aggravation of first-attack severe pancreatitis. It also causes swelling, inflammation, and a breakdown of the cells within the pancreas. This can impair the digestion of sugars in the body. 

Systemic Damage

Binge drinking can also damage systems in the body, including: 

#1. Cardiovascular System

Binge drinking has been linked to hypertension, stroke, heart attack, and sudden death. It has also been linked to onset atrial fibrillation, which is the erratic twitching of the heart muscle. 

#2. Neuropathological System 

Binge drinking has been proven to cause lasting, negative, effects on the brain’s physiology. The areas in the brain directly affected by binge drinking are the prefrontal cortex and parietal regions, which are areas of the brain responsible for impulse control, attention, planning, and sensations. 

Binge drinking has been more common amongst younger people, but it is becoming more common in people of all ages, especially those over 65 years old. The long-term effects of binge drinking can affect almost all areas of the body, so the impact is not to be taken lightly. Understanding the risks of binge drinking may prompt you or a loved one to seek help. Restorations Therapy can help you find healing through our holistic programs addressing mental health, addiction, intimacy disorders, trauma, and more. Call us at (720) 446-6585 and start your journey to recovery. 

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