Alcoholic drinks are a traditional staple of New Year’s Eve celebrations, and even if you don’t typically drink that much during the year, you’ll probably find yourself indulging on this particular night. The key, however, is not to overindulge.
Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks (for a woman) or five or more drinks (for a man) in about a two-hour time span. Binge drinking is very dangerous and can pose many risks to your health and life, including the following:
Drinking and driving do not mix, but many people get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve been drinking, thinking they can make it home just fine. But even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
According to MSNBC, the first day of the New Year is the deadliest day for pedestrians and drunk driving is not solely to blame. Drunk walking is just as dangerous because you can easily stumble into the street and get hit by a car or become lost. If you’re going to drink at all on New Year’s Eve, make sure you have a designated driver or take public transportation if you have to.
Binge drinking is a direct cause of alcohol poisoning, which can cause you to become confused, vomit, have seizures, breathe irregularly, pass out or catch hypothermia. In the most serious cases, it can lead to death. If you have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, this increases your chances of getting alcohol poisoning since alcohol has a bigger impact on your body.
If you must drink at all on New Year’s, make sure that you pace yourself and set a limit beforehand so you will know when you’re overindulging. Always eat before you drink so that your body will absorb the alcohol slowly.
Binge drinking is not typically associated with people who are dependent on alcohol, so many people may binge drink for the first time on New Year’s Eve. Alcohol affects everybody differently, so if you usually don’t drink, you probably won’t know what effect alcohol will have on you.
Passing out is a serious symptom of alcohol poisoning, which is caused by binge drinking. If you should fall unconscious after binge drinking, you’re at a serious risk of dying, especially if your breathing becomes irregular and you’re vomiting uncontrollably. When you’re unconscious, your body continues to absorb the alcohol you’ve consumed and releases it into your bloodstream, which raises your blood alcohol level.
If someone you know passes out from binge drinking, call 911 and stay with that person. Many people who pass out from drinking become victims of sexual assault, not to mention that if the person is vomiting, he or she could asphyxiate if the vomit gets into his or her lungs.
After a night of binge drinking, expect to feel really lousy the next morning. Even if you didn’t get alcohol poisoning, you’ll still have a hangover, which can last for up to 24 hours.
Many studies link binge drinking with abuse, whether it be to a loved one or a complete stranger. Since alcohol lowers people’s inhibitions and affects the perception of right and wrong, people are more likely to turn violent when drunk. Men are more likely than women to engage in violent behavior when drunk. Child abuse and sexual assault can also be the result of a night of heavy drinking.
When you’re drunk, you tend to behave in ways you normally wouldn’t. You may not even be able to remember what you did the night before so if you don’t want to refresh your memory with an embarrassing video of yourself on YouTube, lay off of the alcohol.
Studies in the United Kingdom show that binge drinking can cause a 74 percent increase in your blood pressure. If you consistently drink high amounts of alcohol, you’re at a risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure. People who tend to consume alcohol in high quantities also tend to experience a significant increase in their weight. So if your New Year’s resolution is shed a few pounds and maintain your health, binge drinking is not the way to go.
Even if binge drinking isn’t a habit for you, it could become one. Alcoholism isn’t always recognizable in its early stages and can lead to a variety of health problems including liver damage and damage to the brain. So think twice before you pick up even one drink this New Year’s Eve. Choose to ring in the New Year the right way – by being sober.