Stay healthy: avoid binge drinking

The holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family, enjoy festive meals and celebrate the joy of the New Year.

However, when too much alcohol is in the mix, the celebration can be over before it even starts.

Binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women, is a dangerous behavior.
Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 79,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and is a leading preventable cause of death.

More than 15 percent of U.S. adults report binge drinking. It is most common in men, adults in the 18-34 age range and people with household incomes of $75,000 or more.

Most people who binge drink are not alcohol-dependent or alcoholics, and often engage in this behavior without realizing the health and social problems of their drinking.

Endangering yourself and others
During the holiday season and throughout the year, individuals can put themselves, their family and their community in danger of experiencing many harmful health and safety outcomes.

Binge drinking increases the chances of:

  • Motor vehicle crashes;
  • Violence against others and sexual assaults;
  • Risky sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV,
    sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy;
  • Alcohol poisoning;
  • Babies born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders;
  • Over time, binge drinking can lead to liver disease, certain cancers,
    heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

Taking action
Don’t spend the holidays in the emergency room as a result of binge drinking.
Experience the joy of the holidays by keeping yourself and your family healthy and safe.

All people can:

  • Choose not to binge drink themselves and help others not to do it.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with energy drinks, which can mask
    the depressant effects of alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Avoid purchasing or serving alcohol to children and teenagers.
  • Choose not to drink if they are pregnant, or may become pregnant.
  • Talk with their health care providers about their drinking behavior and request counseling if they drink too much.
  • Participate in community efforts to prevent binge drinking.