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Adults throughout the US are drinking more and more during episodes of binge drinking. This pattern of imbibing alcohol is already dangerous and increasing the amount of alcohol inevitably leads to more serious consequences.
Research shows the majority of this increase takes place in specific wealth brackets. Poorer and less educated people seem to be drinking much more than in previous years. Americans without a high school diploma saw an increase of 296 drinks per year from 646 to 942. Those with household incomes lower than $25,000 saw an increase of 130 drinks per year from 543 to 673.
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The growth of binge drinking among these groups mirrors a growing popularity of binge drinking in general. Health organizations define a binge as 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women within one two-hour event. Whether that event is a party, bar crawl, or drinking at home, the drinking has to take place in 1 continuous period of time.
These numbers may seem surprisingly low, and that surprise is a product of the drinking culture developing in the US. The ubiquity of alcohol and its expected place at social events gives people the chance to overuse it frequently. The uptick in binge drinking throughout the US may be linked to higher mortality rates and lower age expectancy, especially among poorer populations.
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Alcohol and poverty often feed off of and support each other. Poorer neighborhoods show increased levels of binging and problematic drinking. These relationships register more significantly in men rather than women. The gender difference in drinking has been studied for years and the gap may be narrowing in modern times.
The relationship between race and socioeconomic standing may also play a role in this interaction. Studies including race as a variable found that, in communities with wealth disparities associated with race, the poorer group suffered even more greatly with problem drinking and binging. These effects showed the strongest connection with poorer Black and Hispanic communities near richer, white communities.
This pattern of drinking can lead to deadly consequences. Drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and more occur more frequently during episodes of binge drinking. If you’re struggling with the effect of dangerous alcohol consumption, don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether it’s your use disorder or that of a loved one, there are resources available to help heal.
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