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Adolescent Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, commonly defined as consuming five or more standard drinks per occasion for men and four or more drinks for women, typically begins in adolescence. Adolescents, although they may drink less often, tend to consume higher quantities of alcohol per occasion compared with adults. This developmental difference in pattern of alcohol consumption may result, in part, from maturational...

Gender Differences in Binge Drinking

A large research literature shows that women consistently consume less alcohol than men, and they experience fewer social problems resulting from drinking than men, but these gender differences vary culturally, demographically, and historically.

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Body

Alcohol misuse is the fifth-leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide, and, adjusting for age, alcohol is the leading risk factor for mortality and the overall burden of disease in the 15 to 59 age group. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004, 4.5% of the global burden of disease and injury was attributable to alcohol: 7.4% for men and 1.4% for women.

Effects of Binge Drinking on the Developing Brain

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol drinking that raises a person’s blood alcohol concentration to at least .08%, which amounts to consuming five alcoholic drinks for men and four alcoholic drinks for women in about 2 hours. It is the most common form of alcohol misuse in adolescents and young adults. Heavy drinking includes the same criterion as binge drinking, but with higher frequency (i.e...

“Maturing Out” of Binge and Problem Drinking

This article reviews literature aiming to explain the widespread reductions in binge and problem drinking that begin around the transition to young adulthood (i.e., “maturing out”). Whereas most existing literature on maturing out emphasizes contextual effects of transitions into adult roles and responsibilities, this article also reviews recent work demonstrating further effects of young adult...

Binge Drinking - Editor's Note

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of consumption that causes blood alcohol concentration to rise to .08%—the legal limit for adults ages 21 or older operating a motor vehicle—or more. This level typically occurs after a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks—in about 2 hours. Research suggests that three out of four...

The Epidemiology of Binge Drinking Among College-Age Individuals in the United States

Rates of alcohol consumption continue to be a concern, particularly for individuals who are college age. Drinking patterns have changed over time, with the frequency of binge drinking (consuming four/five or more drinks for women/men) remaining high (30% to 40%). Young adults in the college age range are developmentally and socially at higher risk for drinking at binge levels. Changes in autonomy...

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Developing Brain—Animal Models

Adolescence typically is a time of experimentation and emulation of adult behaviors, and many adolescents initiate alcohol and other drug (AOD) use during this developmental period. Brain development continues during adolescence, which could render the adolescent brain particularly vulnerable to alcohol’s effects. Consequently, adolescent alcohol exposure could result in long-lasting changes in...

Surveys That Include Information Relevant to Binge Drinking

This table provides a brief overview of selected surveys administered in the United States and internationally that collect information that can be used to study binge drinking. This list reflects relevant surveys referenced in this issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. It is not a comprehensive compilation of all of the surveys relevant to this topic.

Select U.S. Surveys