The Dangers of Binge Drinking and Drinking Games
Thanks to the digital age of the Internet and the online posting of drinking game videos, binge drinking has turned into an accepted form of social entertainment by many participants. Video franchises such as “I’m Shmacked” are even making big money by touring college campuses, filming drinking parties and posting the content on their YouTube page for everyone to see.
The fact of the matter is that many people playing drinking games might not even realize that they’re binge drinking. Until it’s too late. This kind of competitive drinking encourages people to consume more alcohol in a shorter amount of time than they normally would. Their blood alcohol levels skyrocket and the consequences can be fatal.
There are more than 85,000 deaths a year related to excessive alcohol use. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in a row for men, and four for women. What might seem like a bit of harmless fun, a game of “quarters” or “beer pong,” for instance, where the goal is to bounce either a quarter or a Ping-Pong ball into a cup of beer that another person has to drink, takes away a person’s ability to moderate their alcohol intake, if they’re going to follow the rules of the game.
What are the Health Risks of Binge Drinking?
- Fatal alcohol poisoning, especially in younger people who have little tolerance
- Developing alcohol use disorder
- Brain damage, especially in those under the age of 25 whose brains are not fully matured
- Physical injury as a result of vehicle crashes, falls, hypothermia and drowning
- An increased risk of developing depression and other mental disorders
It’s no surprise that the competitive nature of these “games” causes people to push the limits. One game called, “Neknominate,” shows people filming themselves either necking or chugging a drink and then nominating others to do it, quickly escalated to people gulping whole pints of liquor at a time. The result: people ended up dying trying to outdo or match a particular drinking challenge.
There are other very serious trends emerging as well, such as the “rectal bong.” Just like the old fashioned beer-bong devices of a funnel with a tube attached, “rectal bongs” are inserted into the rectum and people essentially receive an alcohol enema. Known also as “butt chugging,” this is incredibly dangerous. The alcohol bypasses the stomach and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, preventing the body’s natural ability to get rid of the toxins by vomiting. Alcohol soaked tampons inserted in the body can create the same troubles.
It’s also worth mentioning that the playing field isn’t a level one. Women fair much worse than their male counterparts, when it comes to drinking games and binge drinking. First, there is the size and weight ratio, and second, females have less water in their bodies than males. This means the alcohol isn’t diluted in their bodies as quickly. Data also suggests the risk of sexual assault greatly increases for women when they participate in these activities.
New “drinking games” continue to circulate on the Internet, around college campuses and in bars all the time. While this is unlikely to stop, parents of children, as well as adults who participate in these activities, should be aware of the dangers. The simple truth is that binge drinking is not a game at all.
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