What is binge drinking?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or more. This pattern of drinking usually corresponds to 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours.

Binge drinking is the term used to describe rapid and excessive consumption of alcohol. It is usually defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period for men and four or more in the same time period for women. This type of drinking can dangerously affect such basic bodily functions as breathing, heart rate, and gag reflex and is the leading cause of alcohol poisoning.

Dr. Paul  Hokemeyer, PhD
Marriage & Family Therapy Specialist

Binge drinking is phenomenon that is all too common in our families, communities and college campuses. Numerically, an alcoholic binge consists of five or more alcoholic beverages for a male and four or more drinks for a woman at single setting (for example, an evening out with friends, watching a sporting event, a birthday party, or during “happy hour").

Binge drinking, or heavy episodic drinking, is a term used to describe drinking more than four alcoholic drinks for women or five for men in one sitting, usually in about two hours. This type of consumption pattern is consistent with hazardous or risky alcohol use and may place people at increased risk for developing an alcohol use disorder. It also puts people at risk for other health issues such as injury, motor vehicle crashes and sexually transmitted diseases. Women who find it difficult to reduce drinking to three or fewer drinks at a time AND less than seven drinks in a week, may want to seek help from a healthcare provider.

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Raychelle C. Lohmann, MS, LPC
Psychology Specialist

There is no doubt about it, alcohol is one of the most widely available drugs on the market and the thought of people gulping it down is concerning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), binge drinking is defined as a female consuming 4 or more drinks on a single occasion and a male consuming 5 or more drinks in one sitting. Binge drinking is scary business; that powerful liquid has the ability to change a life…and not in a good way.

High levels of alcohol consumption have been associated with many health problems including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease
  • Chemical Dependency
  • STDs
  • Alcohol Poisoning
  • Death

People who binge drink are not only putting themselves at risk, they are putting others in jeopardy as well. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.