You many not worry about downing an entire six-pack whlie watching the Monday night game or doing a few shots of Patron before closing time at the pub on Saturday, but you may be surprised to learn that you could be one of an exploding number of Americans entering into the drinking danger zone. In fact, more than 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month, according to a new CDC report. What’s not so surprising? Binge drinking is most common among 18 to 34 year olds. The report also discovered that those who make more than $75,000 are likeliest to binge drink.
For men, binge drinking means having five or more drinks in a short period of time. Though binge drinking definitely signals an alcohol problem, most guys who binge drink don’t fit the definition of an alcoholic, which is someone who is so dependent on alcohol that he may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as the shakes, when he doesn’t drink. That’s because there are not only two camps of drinkers—those with a drinking problem and those without—since many drinkers fall into the gray area in between.
“People often don’t recognize binge drinking as problem because it’s not a daily thing,” says Gregory Smith, M.D., a prescription addiction specialist at the Comprehensive Pain Relief Group in L.A. “They think, ‘I’m able to function at work and at home and I don’t need to have a drink every day so I’m fine,’ but then they finish a bottle or two of wine over the weekend.”
Though occasionally tying one on may seem harmless, overindulging in alcohol is actually the culprit behind more than 80,000 deaths in this country, and is the third leading cause of preventable deaths. Whether you tend to imbibe only while on vacation or tie one on every weekend, check out these surprising signs that you may be drinking too much.