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Are You a Binge Drinker? 6 Signs You're Overdoing It—and What to do About it

A whopping 1 out of 6 Americans overindulges in alcohol, and the figures are even more sobering for college students.

New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham is putting figures behind the alarming college pastime: binge drinking. Researchers estimate 1,825 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries like car accidents, about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and one in four college students report negative academic consequences from drinking including missing class, flunking exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall. Sobering, huh?

But binge drinking isn't exclusive to young adults. You could be part of an exploding number of Americans entering the drinking danger zone, according to a CDC report that suggests over 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month. The report also discovered those who make more than $75,000 are more apt to binge drink.

So what exactly qualifies as binge drinking? Well, for men, it means having five or more drinks in two hours time. 

“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.”

Binge drinking is major cause for concern. 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. Check out these surprising signs you might be drinking too much—and how you can minimize your risk.

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