Fact Sheet: Binge Drinking

More than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is consumed as binge drinks, for minors this number rises to 90%.

Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (B.A.C.) to 0.08 or higher. The number of drinks it takes to reach this point is different for men and women. Typically, in a 2-hour period, men reach a BAC of 0.08 after 5 or more drinks and women after just 4. Another way to understand binge drinking is to think about it as drinking too quickly, drinking to get drunk or drinking more the daily unit guidelines in a single session.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the risks of binge drinking include: 

  • Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological damage
  • Sexual dysfunction, and
  • Poor control of diabetes.

Additional facts about binge drinking: 

  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.
  • Binge drinking is twice as prevalent among men as it is among women.
  • Most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent.



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DrinkingwithDiabetes.com is a resource for young adult Type 1 diabetics and their support networks to help navigate interactions around alcohol. Alcohol is often an integral part of social life on college campuses and while all students face risks, there are a number of unique and serious ones specific to insulin-using diabetics. Learning how to navigate those risks and make informed decisions for themselves about the role alcohol plays in their lives.

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