Can You Stop Binge Drinking By Sending A Text?

binge drinkingImagine a world without the Internet, texting, or smartphones – although these tech innovations haven’t been around for that long, most people can’t fathom what life would be like without them. Because millennials between the ages of 18 to 24 are among the groups most addicted to their smartphones and texting, it makes sense that this type of technology is used to get important messages across. That’s why medical professionals decided to try out text messaging as a way to stop young adults from binge drinking.

Binge drinking is the 4th leading cause of preventable death in the United States right now, coming in only behind smoking and poor diet, and binge drinking is one of the main reasons behind young adult ER visits. Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as having 5 or more drinks per day for men or four or more drinks per day for women.

To study binge drinking in young adults, medical professionals tracked young adults who visited the ER for excessive alcohol consumption and sampled 765 patients who expressed an interest in the study. More than 1/3 of these young adults reported that they abused alcohol or said they were dependent on alcohol. For 12 weeks 1/3 of this group received text messages from the ER regarding their drinking plans and asking them to offer feedback in return. Another group received text messages with no feedback required, and the third group received no text messages.

The findings of the study were published in Annals of Emergency Medicine. Out of the three groups, the group receiving text messages and asking for feedback stated they cut their binge drinking by 51 percent. The other two groups reported increasing their number of binge drinking days.

The moral of the study? Binge drinking is dangerous, and any avenue that can cut down on excessive alcohol consumption should be pursued. With alcohol related deaths on the rise, maybe it’s time to talk to young adults in a way they relate to by picking up the phone and hitting send on a text message.

Binge Drinking 4th Leading Killer In USA

Binge DrinkingIt’s pretty hard to spend an entire day without being exposed to alcohol in some way. You see people drinking on TV and in movies, it’s advertised in commercials, and you probably even have a bottle or two in your home. It’s no big deal, right?

Because drinking alcohol is a legal, mainstream activity for millions across the US, people often underestimate the risks associated with it. Most people know that drinking and driving is an extremely dangerous and risky behavior, but many don’t realize that excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking is the 4th leading cause of preventable death in our country.

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is responsible for 10 percent of deaths among adults in the United States, and that number is steadily rising. By using an online tool called the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact, the researchers were able to estimate how many adults died due to binge drinking. The tool includes alcohol-related diseases like liver or heart disease, and also includes crashes where alcohol was involved.

The tool will analyze data on a state-by-state basis, and it makes it simple to see the types of alcohol-related factors that result in death. Take California for example – between 2006 to 2010, there were 10,572 deaths attributed to alcohol. Out of all the causes, alcohol took the most lives due to liver disease from excessive drinking, motor vehicle traffic crashes, alcohol poisoning, and suicide.

Drinking alcohol may be considered a normal activity in our society, but binge drinking is still something people tend to play down. The researchers stated that only one in six adults from the ages of 20 to 65 report binge drinking 4 times per month, but that the actual number is higher because people aren’t upfront about their drinking habits. This type of denial means if they need help because they’re excessively binge drinking, they won’t ask family or their doctors for it.

Binge drinking is dangerous, period. If you or someone you know is binge drinking, reach out and ask your family and doctor about alcohol abuse and get the help you need.

Teen Binge Drinking Predicted By Brain Scans

teen binge drinkingEven in this day and age of tablet computers and smart phones, scanning your brain for information about what type of person you’ll be or what sort of behavior you could exhibit in the future is still something you might only see on a Sci-Fi show. But a study from the University of Vermont is actually doing just that, and the research has resulted in some interesting predictions about teen binge drinking. It’s been called an ‘epidemic’ by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and it can lead to other risky behaviors like drinking and driving, problems in school, and is the cause of death for over 4,300 teens annually.

Neuroscientists crunched the data from thousands of teen brain assessments and found they could predict with 70% accuracy which teens would become a binge drinker in the future. The study followed teens from 14-years-old until they were 19, and each participant took a 10-hour assessment exam, had their brain activity and IQ evaluated, and submitted to blood tests. The researchers assessed their genes and 40 other variables to predict who would binge drink, and they found they were able to predict alcohol abuse as early as age 16 and the predictions of drinking held until the final assessment at 19 years of age.

In combination with the brain scans, the researchers found the best predictors of future binge drinking were personality traits like thrill seeking, whether the teen had experienced stressful life events, and whether the teen had a family history of drug or alcohol abuse. Using these scans to predict future behavior opens the door for neuroscientists to study how substance abuse develops over time and identify the risk factors that contribute to it.

Reducing teen drinking has become one of the main concerns for groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the CDC, and that’s why these types of studies are so important. It’s almost impossible to reach out and spread the message to all teens on the dangers of binge drinking, and it’s not enough to wait idly by while teens potentially drink themselves to death without being aware of the consequences. By predicting the specific behaviors leading to teen binge drinking, the groups of teens most at risk may be able to be targeted for special assistance.

 

Summer Cocktails Create A Real Summer Buzz

summer-cocktailsFrosty, fruity, and available in big, thirst quenching summer sizes – summer cocktails are one of those rites of the season that people look forward to when sitting on a beach, out on their deck, or just in the backyard with friends. Before you sit down and sip your favorite summer cocktail, you might want to run an online check on how much alcohol is in it using the U.S. National Institutes of Health online alcohol checker.

Most people know the alcohol content of a standard drink – a 12 ounce can of beer contains 5% alcohol, a 5 ounce glass of wine contains 12% alcohol, and a 1.5 ounce shot of hard alcohol like brandy contains 40% alcohol – but summer drinks are mixed with different ingredients than the standard drink, and the odds are you’ll be drinking a lot more alcohol than you may realize.

Take a margarita for example – if mixed according to a bartender’s recipe, you’ll be consuming 1.5 ounces of tequila and1 ounce of flavored liqueur. A Pina Colada has 3 ounces of rum, which is double the standard hard alcohol drink.

Keep these tips in mind when drinking summer cocktails:

  • If it’s hot outside, stick to one standard drink per hour. If you drink more you could risk dehydration.
  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women should drink no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks on any given day. Men should not drink more than 14 drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
  • Women have different reactions to alcohol than men and don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly as men do, so it will take less alcohol for a women to become drunk than a man.

Knowing how much alcohol is in your summer cocktail means you have a better idea of how intoxicated you’ll be when you’ve finished it. Just like if you were drinking standard drinks, the safest option after a summer cocktail is to appoint a designated driver and never drink and drive.

Binge Drinking on the Rise

Bartender pouring strong alcoholic drink into small glasses on bOver the past few years, there has been an increase in alcohol-impaired driving. This follows a twenty year decline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that this increase is due, at least in part, to a recent significant rise in binge drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks by a woman within 2 hours. Most binge drinkers do so about 4 times a month.

CDC director Thomas Frieden said that “at least 80 percent of binge drinkers are not alcohol-dependent. Yet binge drinking accounts for most deaths from alcohol.”

Binge Drinking Facts

  1. One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.
  2. While binge drinking is more common among young adults aged 18–34 years, binge drinkers aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often—an average of five to six times a month.
  3. Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes of $75,000 or more than among those with lower incomes.
  4. Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  5. Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.
  6. The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice that of women.
  7. Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.
  8. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
  9. More than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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