Binge Drinking & Our Bodies

binge drinking dangers

It should come as no surprise that binge drinking is dangerous! It makes people behave stupidly, puts them at high risk for all types of accidents and diseases, and costs society a ton of money. Well, now there’s one more harmful effect to add to the list.

According to a new study, conducted by researchers at Loyola University, binge drinking actually damages our body’s immune system. That doesn’t sound too good!

Okay, so binge drinking can lead to accidents, injuries, assault, general health problems, STD’s, and a damaged immune system. Seems like it’s time to stop knocking back the drinks and start taking a look at why people binge drink in the first place.

I’ll touch on that later, but first let’s look at the new research.

The New Facts about Binge Drinking

Dr. Elizabeth Kovacs, the head of Loyola’s Alcohol Research Program (shout out to women in power!), is the co-author of this new study. In it, her and other scientists measured fifteen people’s immune system responses before and after drinking.

They took a baseline reading, gave the study participants four or five shots of vodka, and took another reading. Side note – where was this study when I was drinking and drugging?! I would have loved to get drunk for science!

Interestingly enough, when the booze was at peak levels in the participants’ systems, their immune systems were more active than before drinking. Weird, right? Then the researchers measured immune system response two and five hours after drinking.

By this point, all the participants’ immune systems were moving at sluggish levels. This could be due to the depressant effects of alcohol. It could be because of a million other factors. Who knows?

What this study makes clear is that more research needs to be done! After all, binge drinking is harmful in so many ways. It’s important to figure out all of them. If there’s more knowledge of the dangers binge drinking presents, hopefully fewer people will do it!

Other Binge Drinking Dangers

Like I just mentioned above, binge drinking has a ton of negative side effects. That’s obvious enough to us, as recovering alcoholics and addicts!

There are the obvious dangers like being too drunk to consent to sexual activity. But then there are subtler dangers. Find a list of some dangers of binge drinking below:

  • Binge drinking has led to an increase of children being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. These are cognitive impairments similar to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but, generally speaking, less severe.
  • Binge drinking costs the U.S. more than $223 billion annually. Think about that number for a second. 223 billion dollars! That’s an obscene amount of money! These costs come from lost productivity, health care costs, and crime.
  • Here’s an obvious one – binge drinking can, and often does, lead to alcoholism!
  • Binge drinking is commonly associated with unintentional injuries (car crashes, falls, accidents), sexual assault, domestic violence, STD’s (too drunk to care about using protection), and many health problems. Health problems may include: high blood pressure, an enlarged liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.

Okay…So What?

That’s a good question! Everyone knows binge drinking is dangerous. The new findings about how it compromises our immune systems aren’t incredibly surprising. So why talk about it? Why devote an entire essay to it?

binge drinking and immune system

The answer’s simple – we, as a society, need to change how we view alcohol. Women in recovery know how harmful it is. But what about others? Generally speaking, American culture celebrates drinking. We don’t view it as something dangerous, but rather as something that everyone does.

If we want to see less people binge drinking, and by extension less people being hurt by binge drinking, we need to change up the narrative! And what better place to start than by those in recovery? We’ve seen firsthand the harmful and sometimes fatal consequences of booze. We’re basically the experts!

So, world, listen when I say that binge drinking needs to stop! If a normie wants to have a glass of wine with dinner, that’s fine. If that same normie wants to have six glasses of wine and four Jello shots in an hour, well, that’s not fine.

Remember, we can all change!

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