So, you may know that teens drink less frequently than adults in general, but those who do drink on average FIVE DRINKS AT A TIME! That is binge drinking. Binge drinking is 4 or more drinks for females, or 5 or more for males at a time. So, what constitutes a drink? Not all drinks have the same amount of alcohol. So the stronger (higher proof) alcohol, the less actual liquid (serving size) counts as a drink....
See these are all = to ONE drink:
- 12 oz beer or wine cooler
- 8 oz malt liquor
- 5 oz wine
- 1 shot (1.5 oz) of hard liquor – 80 proof – rum, vodka, whiskey, etc. Grain alcohol is even stronger.
So what’s the big deal? YOLO. I’m young, just wanna have a good time.Well sadly binge drinking can end your “good time” pretty quickly.
- We are talking about DEATHS due to alcohol. Binge drinking is contributes to murders and suicides and car accidents. I bet you didn’t know (and will be shocked to hear) that almost half of the people who die in car crashes caused by a drunk driver under 21 are NOT THE DRIVER! Which means 2 things – if you drive drunk, you could kill someone. And if you get in the car with a drunk person, you could be killed.
- We are talking about risky sexual behavior – like having sex without protection and getting yourself or someone else pregnant or passing on a sexually transmitted disease. Like not being able to say no. Like being a victim of rape when you passed out. You get the idea.
- We are talking about getting really, really sick from alcohol – or alcohol poisoning. This is not cool. This is not safe. And this can be deadly.
- So, let’s go off on that tangent – alcohol poisoning. OK, you think alcohol is fun cause it perks you up and makes you funny and livens up a party, right? WRONG! Alcohol is a CNS depressant – what does THAT mean, you say…? That means alcohol decreases the automatic functions that your nervous system controls. If you drink too much too fast, you can drop your heart rate or make your heart beat in a dangerous rhythm, you can drop your blood pressure, you can pass out (lose consciousness), and you can stop breathing. You can choke on your vomit and suffocate. You can have a seizure. So then end result can be deadly. And even for kids that survive severe alcohol poisoning, there can be permanent brain damage. Not really worth it.
Picture this: You are at a party and there is alcohol. A lot of alcohol. Kids are drinking. There is a kid who is taking a nap in the middle of the couch with all the partying going on around him. You should:
- point and laugh
- take video and put on YouTube
- snapchat that
- just let him sleep it off.
Correct answer is:…….DRUM ROLL PLEASE…. NONE OF THE ABOVE!!!
(So seriously, no one picked 1, 2, or 3, but did any of you really think 4 is the right answer?)
What is the problem with just letting him sleep it off? Well, the problem is that if you drink quickly, alcohol will still be absorbed from your guts even after you stop drinking. Only so much can be absorbed or broken down by your body at a time. So if you stop drinking, you pass out, or whatever, your actual blood alcohol level can keep rising and become really dangerous.
THUS, the issue is, does he have alcohol poisoning? Clues that he or she might are:
- You can’t wake up your friend
- Your friend is vomiting
- There are seizures.
- Breathing is really, really slow (10 seconds or more between breaths).
- Or they are bluish, pale or their skin is cold.
OHMIGOD WHAT DO I DO?!?!?
- Do NOT leave your friend to sleep it off.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Turn the person on their left side and prop them there with a pillow so that they won’t choke on their vomit.
- Stay with them till help comes.
OK, those are the big immediate risks with binge drinking…..moving on now to what can happen later on…
DID YOU KNOW that your brain develops long after your body and other stuff have matured? So your brain is building new connections and making nerve signals more efficient into your mid to late 20s! Cool, but clearly a problem if you pollute all that nervous system development. Binge drinking messes with that. For real. There are even some studies that seem to show that heavy alcohol use in teens can affect normal growth… and even can affect liver, bone and hormonal (endocrine) development.
If you or someone you know has a problem… get help. Go to a trusted adult and get help. You will be doing yourself and your friends a favor. You have only one body and it needs to last you long enough to accomplish all those dreams you have for your fabulous life.
Well, if you got wasted this weekend, you wasted your weekend. Don’t waste your life.