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Excessive Alcohol Use | Binge Drinking

The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women.

Why It Matters

Data suggest that even one episode of binge drinking can compromise function of the immune system and lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Alcohol misuse, including repeated episodes of binge drinking, over time contributes to liver and other chronic diseases, as well as increases in the risk of several types of cancer, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers.

In addition, crossing the binge threshold increases the risk of acute harm, such as blackouts and overdoses. Binge drinking also increases the likelihood of unsafe sexual behavior and the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintentional pregnancy. These risks are greater at higher peak levels of consumption. Because of the impairments it produces, binge drinking also increases the likelihood of a host of potentially deadly consequences, including falls, burns, drownings, and car crashes.

Resources for the Prevention of Binge Drinking

Binge Drinking Fact Sheet (CDC)

Binge Drinking: Health Effects, Signs, and Prevention (WebMD)
This site puts information about binge drinking in terms that are relatable to the general public and the myriad of issues that come from binge drinking.

Bringing Down Binge Drinking (PDF)
Infographic from SAMSHA that shows how prevalent the problem of binge drinking is with those who are under the age of 21.

Rethinking Drinking
Learn about drink sizes and amounts and definition of binge drinking from the National Institutes of Health.

The Burden of Binge Drinking in Wisconsin
Wisconsin report for every county on the impact of binge drinking.

Understanding Binge Drinking Fact Sheet (NIH)
Learn what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says about binge drinking rates across the lifespan and health consequences.