Binge drinking a serious threat to women, study says
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 23:01
For women, alcohol poisoning isn’t the only health risk that comes with binge drinking: breast cancer and heart disease are on the list as well.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said binge drinking among women is a serious health problem, but it’s not typically recognized as one.
The CDC’s report, which was released Jan. 8, defined binge drinking for women as having about four or more drinks in one sitting.
Binge drinking was found to be most common for those between the ages of 18 and 24, and about one in eight adult women tend to binge drink
Amanda Blake, the alcohol and other drugs wellness coordinator at the Student Wellness Center, said she is unable to tell if binge drinking is a more serious problem for women, but said it can become dangerous on college campuses.
“I know that binge drinking in general, especially on college campuses, can be a serious problem,” Blake said. “Just overdoing it one night can lead to pretty serious complications or even alcohol poisoning.”
However, some students like Lauren Greco, a second-year in psychology, said binge drinking is not something students intentionally do.
“If I’m in a rush or going somewhere really fast, we’ll just drink it (alcoholic drinks) really fast,” Greco said. “Not intentionally, but I feel like it kind of happens.”
The study also found that women who binge drink are at a higher risk for breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases or infections and other health problems.
Blake said she cannot determine whether the increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases is because of health reasons or impaired judgment, but one student said the answer was obvious to her.
“I understand how all of those happen,” said Mayme Flowers, a first-year in business administration. “How it could lead to STDs and whatnot because you probably can’t control yourself.”
The Wellness Center offers programs and presentations in order to educate students about alcohol and drugs rather then just telling students to abstain from drinking.
“None of our programs are abstinence-based,” Blake said.
The Wellness Center also offers a program called “Women and Alcohol,” which outlines how alcohol affects women differently than men.
Blake said there are four main reasons alcohol affects women more than men, one being that since men are typically larger than women, there is more space available for the alcohol, so it is less concentrated in the body.
Men also naturally have more of the chemical gastric alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol in people’s stomachs, and more body fat that stores alcohol longer. Alcohol in the body also affects hormones, which makes the alcohol level more elevated in women than in men.