Having a drink after a long day is not unusual. In fact, alcohol in moderation can even be good for your health. But do you know how much is too much? Binge drinking has been on the rise in recent years across all age groups. Understanding what the line is between regular drinking and binge drinking is essential to protecting you and those around you.

When Does it Become Binge Drinking?

Casual drinking becomes binge drinking when a woman consumes more than 8 drinks in a week, or a man consumes more than 15 drinks in a week. Typically, it occurs over a concise time span of just a few hours. Drinking this much, this fast rapidly raises your blood alcohol above the legal limit.

What Are the Dangers?

Binge drinking comes with lots of potential dangers to both your physical and mental health. Physically, your liver will begin to struggle to process high amounts of alcohol. If your repeated binge drink, this can lead to liver failure. You may also suffer from alcohol poisoning if you continue to drink copious amounts in a short period of time. You’ll be at an increased risk for irritable bowel syndrome and if you’re a woman, breast cancer. The mental dangers include depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol dependence. When binge drinking turns into alcohol dependence, your risk for becoming an alcoholic is significantly increased.

Impaired Judgment

One of the most notable dangers of binge drinking is not physical or mental. High amounts of alcohol will begin to impair your judgment and decision making. This often leads to aggressive behavior, sometimes even sexually aggressive. You’ll be more impulsive, which creates a higher likelihood of making poor choices. Drinking and driving while binge drinking is not uncommon. This impaired judgment choice to get behind the wheel puts you at risk, and everyone else on the road.

If you’ve been binge drinking, it’s important to stop before the action turns into an addiction. If you think you’re already addicted, reach out for help. Try to remind friends and family members that are drinking around you that they should pace themselves too. If you’ve been binge drinking in the past and experience some of the health issues listed above, quitting now may be able to stop the damage. It isn’t that you can’t drink at all, you just need to be drinking responsibly!