In this recent video that went viral, it is hard to watch these men’s reaction to a beautiful woman who they believe is drunk, and shines a light on the dangers of binge drinking.
What happens when a woman is drunk and alone in the city? How will people around her react? A video recently shot as a social experiment seeks to answer these questions. In the middle of the day an actress pretends to be drunk in downtown Madrid. Despite being surrounded by onlookers, the men who approach her do not seem to have the best intentions in mind. Rather than offering help, men target her as vulnerable and try to take advantage of her. They encourage her to drink more, try to get her to come with them to another bar or back to their hotels, and even start groping and trying to kiss her in public.
The reactions of men to this seemingly drunk woman on the street are disturbing, yet the video portrays the unfortunate reality of what can happen in this situation. It also poses many questions, such as if this is how men react in broad daylight, what happens when people are binge drinking on Friday or Saturday night and get lost in the city?
Drinking to intoxication can lead to impaired judgment and puts woman and men at risk to a variety of dangerous situations. After binge drinking people are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of sexual assault, violence, and accidents. While it is important to note that intoxication on the part of the victim does not make an assault their fault, it can create a situation of increased vulnerability and risk.
Binge Drinking is Far From Harmless
Binge drinking is the consumption of a large amount of alcohol (5 drinks for men, 4 for women) over a short period of time, leading to intoxication.
In many places around the world drinking to get drunk is a socially acceptable behaviour and is even encouraged. This means that the dangers of binge drinking are often downplayed and ignored. Research suggests alcohol causes more harm in society than any other drug, and binge drinking certainly plays a role in this. Alcohol contributes to 25% of all deaths in people aged 20-39. For teens between the ages of 15-24, alcohol is a factor in all three leading causes of death: accidents, homicide, and suicide.
As the video discussed above shows, drinking to intoxication can lead to risky situations such as being the perpetrator or victim of violence, or driving drunk or riding with a drunk driver. However, the dangers are not always as drastic or clear cut.
Other short term effects of binge drinking include:
- Vomiting and memory loss.
Blacking out due to excessive drinking is a serious problem. When you get ‘black-out drunk‘, not only are you at the greatest risk for making poor decisions and participating in dangerous activities, but it also causes significant harm to your brain and body.
Hangovers are not only unpleasant physically due to the headaches and nausea, they can also lead to decreased productivity, feelings of guilt, and missed school or work.
- Injury to yourself or others.
Intoxication can lead to loss of motor control which increases your risk of accidental injury.
- Alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol is a depressant drug. Large amounts can cause your central nervous system to shut down, can cause a coma, and can even cause death in the worst circumstances.
- Unprotected or unwanted sex.
Risky sexual behaviour can lead to sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy.
Long-term effects of binge drinking:
- Physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.
- Brain and liver damage.
- Increased risk for cancer.
- Risk of developing emotional and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
- Problems at school, work, or with relationships.
While more frequent episodes of excessive drinking increases the risk for subsequent dangers, research shows that even one episode of binge drinking causes physical harm to the body by releasing toxins from the gut into the bloodstream which leads to a weakened immune system, inflammation and tissue damage.
When it comes to long-term effects, physical and psychological dependence on alcohol is one risk that deserves a closer look.
The Link between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism
Not all people who binge drink on occasion develop an alcohol abuse disorder, but binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol misuse that can lead to alcohol problems.
There are other risk factors that when combined with patterns of binge drinking can lead to increased risk for developing alcohol addiction. Genetics plays a strong role in the development of alcohol and drug addiction and can account for up to 50% of the risk. The age that someone begins drinking is another key factor, and those who have their first drink before the age of 15 are approximately 40% more likely to become addicted. Other red flags include drinking to the point of blacking out, the inability to have only one or two drinks, and obsessing about alcohol.
In this video, The Cabin’s programme director Alastair Mordey discusses the link between binge drinkers and alcoholics. When we hear the term alcoholic we often think of someone who would be classified as a dependent drinker, or a person who is physically addicted to alcohol and drinks all day every day. However, this type of drinker actually makes up the minority of people who seek alcohol addiction services.
Most people who come to identify themselves as alcoholics may not drink every day, and probably do not wake up in the morning with physical withdrawal symptoms. They may, however, binge drink regularly, or even only occasionally, to the point where their drinking patterns begin to cause negative consequences in their life. It is when a person cannot stop drinking despite growing negative consequences that an alcohol problem has developed.
Binge drinking poses many social, physical, and emotional risks. If you are unsure whether your drinking habits are normal or becoming problematic, take this quiz to determine what type of drinker you are. If you have tried and failed to get sober in the past, then you may need help.
It is never too early or too late to take action if you or someone you love is struggling to control their drinking habits. Reach out for help today by contacting The Cabin Chiang Mai’s drug and alcohol rehab which provides private and effective treatment for all alcohol use disorders.