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What are the Effects of Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking occurs when someone rapidly consumes several alcoholic drinks with the intention of getting drunk, either while in a large group of people or alone. While this activity is often viewed as a common way to unwind, particularly for young people, there are various effects that come along with this behavior. Some effects of binge drinking come the night of the activity, or the following day. Others may not show up for several years, and are often permanent.

Many people are well aware of the effects of binge drinking that occur the night of the activity. While having a few alcoholic drinks spread over an entire evening can result in a feeling of relaxation, going further and having several drinks one after another usually leads to the inability to walk straight or at all, slurred speech, general confusion, and eventually loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning may result, which may cause difficulty breathing and a slower heart rate. Vomiting is one of the most common effects of binge drinking observed just hours after imbibing, and may even lead to asphyxiation, or choking on vomit. Of course, since inhibitions are lowered, many people take more risks than usual, sometimes resulting in serious injuries or even death.

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The following day is usually no better, as the dreaded hangover often occurs. This is a general ill feeling that can last anywhere from just a few hours to the entire day. One of the most common symptoms of a hangover is vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Many people with this issue also complain of a headache, which only gets worse when they become dehydrated. In fact, many people find it difficult to get out of bed when they feel these short-term effects of binge drinking. Thus, not only does a hangover affect the body, but it can also lead to job loss due to absenteeism.

There are several long-term effects of binge drinking, as well, starting with kidney issues and cirrhosis of the liver, since these organs have to process the alcohol. Other organs are also affected, which means that strokes, heart attacks, and reduced ability for the brain to function normally are all common effects of binge drinking. Many people also notice weight gain with repeated binge drinking, as some alcoholic drinks have a lot of calories, and also temporarily impede the digestion of foods so that they turn into fat more readily than usual. Of course, women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should be aware that drinking alcohol, especially in large amounts, can lead to birth defects in the unborn baby, as well as infertility.

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