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Binge Drinking: Is It Really Worth It?

kellysw4 1 / -  
Nov 4, 2022   #1

Binge Drinking: Is It Really Worth It?

You probably know a thing or two about alcohol and the mental and physical problems it causes but many don't know how extreme it can be. While some people know how to have a good time without going out too much and over indulging, others go out too often and drink more than they should. "You only live once" is a phrase some people use when overindulging in alcohol, but is it really worth the long term mental and physical problems that come with it? If people were presented with the life threatening, mind altering and very costly side effects of binge drinking chances are they may not drink as often and as much.

Alcohol is widely accepted around the world however long term use can cause extreme problems many people don't want to live with. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, with about 85% of people reporting that they've drank alcohol in their lifetime. (Effects of Alcohol). Alcohol is so popular because people think it is pleasant, relaxing, and it is considered a "social beverage". One in six US adults binge drinks, with 25% doing so at least weekly (CDC). Almost one-third of our population meets the criteria for an alcohol use disorder (AUD) at some point in their lifetime (CDC). Unfortunately underage drinkers also have AUD, and they are probably the ones who are less educated on the consequences they can experience. There needs to be more early education for everyone on the long term health and psychological issues binge drinking causes so people can realize that it is not worth the side effects that come with it.

While going out for a fun night on the town with friends can be exciting, you may not realize you are actually binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women (CDC). Women are also affected more than men because their bodies naturally absorb more alcohol and take longer to metabolize the alcohol. Drinking those amounts of alcohol could be just a normal night at home for someone, or a normal amount for someone who goes out a couple nights a week. Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18-34 (CDC). Reasons for this could be that people in this age bracket go out with friends more, go to the bars more often and attend more parties.

A couple drunken nights out on the town can't be worth the long-term health problems that come with it, like the development of mental health problems including depression, alcohol related dementia and alcoholism or the health risks like liver or heart problems and even cancer. Alcoholism is one disease that causes many other diseases. Binge drinking usually leads to ill health with many of the problems lasting a lifetime. Alcohol affects the most important organs in the body. (The Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body). Cell membranes in the human body have high permeability to alcohol so alcohol diffuses into nearly every biological tissue of the body once it gets into the bloodstream (The Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body).

Heavy drinking has substantial and extensive effects on the brain, from simple "slips" in memory to permanent and crippling conditions that require the need of lifetime assistance for everyday living. Heavy alcohol use directly affects brain function and alters various brain chemicals (i.e., neurotransmitter) and hormonal systems known to be involved in the development of many common mental disorders (Alcoholism and Psychiatric). A lot of people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to "forget" their problems, however all it does is push them aside for another time. People drink because they are depressed, have anxiety or they are lonely but alcohol just intensifies and worsens these feelings. Relying on alcohol to manage your mental well-being can become a problem in itself since alcohol can cause many long term mental problems (Alcoholism and Psychiatric). Some people who have AUD or alcoholism simply do not care about the consequences it leads to, especially if they have been drinking for a long time.

When the effects of alcohol wear off, it changes our brain chemistry for the worst. Drinking alcohol excessively all the time may increase your risk of developing a major depressive disorder. Drinking alcohol might be fun at the moment but is it worth a lifelong state of being depressed? Depression usually leads to isolation which in turn leads to not associating with friends and family which would be taking away the fun moments you could enjoy if you didn't develop depression from drinking alcohol all the time. Alcohol is a depressant which affects your brain's natural level of happiness chemicals like serotonin and dopamine (The Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body). Alcohol dependence is roughly three times as likely among people with depression ( The Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body).

Binge drinking over a long period of time can cause alcohol related dementia which is a type of alcohol-related brain damage. Each stage of alcohol related dementia brings many difficulties that will affect you for a lifetime. People with early early stage alcohol related dementia may start experiencing mood and personality changes they may also find it more difficult to make complex decisions and express themselves (Alcohol Dementia). People with mid stage alcohol related dementia can start to forget family members, find it harder to communicate and they also may start to hear or see things that are not true (Alcoholic Dementia). End stage alcohol related dementia can be quite severe. People need help with bathing themselves, eating and doing simple tasks. Behaviors can be unpredictable and uninhibited, and communication is difficult and could become impossible (Alcoholic Dementia). This condition can completely steal the best times of your life. Forgetting people you love the most, and not remembering some of the most important parts of your life does not seem worth it. The inabilities you face could take your dignity completely away, causing negative emotions which could lead to drinking more. People can get sober for a week or even a month then have one drink of alcohol and revert straight back to the end stage completely skipping the first two stages. If you have no friends or family to help you with this you will have to hire a caregiver which can be very expensive now putting a strain on your financial situation.

Binge drinking does not mean someone automatically has alcoholism but binge drinking greatly increases the risk of developing alcoholism. Alcoholism completely takes over your life and your mental health. The term mental illness refers to conditions that prevent individuals from interacting normally with their environment and other people (Kingsway Recovery). The first stage of alcoholism is excessive drinking. In this stage of alcoholism the physical and psychological dependence begins (Kingsway Recovery). To rid the feelings of withdrawal people drink more and more. Alcoholics can not go through their day without alcohol controlling their life. Alcoholism affects people's work life, their relationships and ultimately their health. Alcoholism can result in brain shrinkage, damage to the heart, many different types of cancers, and loss in bone mass. Alcoholism also causes a lot of psychological issues like bipolar, depression, anxiety and memory loss (What is Alcoholism?) An estimated 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States and over 250 Americans die each day from alcohol use ("Alcoholism Statistics You Need to Know").

The liver is the biggest organ in the body that has many important and vital jobs in the body. In order for someone to live, the liver needs to be healthy. Alcohol is the most common cause of liver cirrhosis, a permanent disease that requires medical treatment for the rest of your life. Alcohol can cause inflammation and swelling in the liver, which is hepatitis that will eventually lead to liver cirrhosis. The symptoms like many other alcohol related diseases do not show up right away giving more time for the liver to become damaged. Liver cirrhosis is a debilitating disease that ultimately ends in a painful death. Liver cirrhosis is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease and it is unfortunately irreversible (Alcohol Liver Disease).

Liver cirrhosis can result in many other consequences like liver cancer, kidney failure and even liver transplant. Regular, heavy alcohol use can damage the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring, which might be why it raises the risk of liver cancer, which is only one of the seven types of cancer caused by alcohol (Alcohol Use and Cancer). Acute kidney failure as the result of binge drinking can develop in a matter of days or even hours. Alcohol is capable of undoing the kidneys' ability to filter out toxins, and while this is not usually a problem with normal drinking, it becomes a serious problem when the drinking is abusive or excessive. The kidneys are also responsible for keeping the right amount of water in the body and if they are unable to do that they can not stop alcohol from drying out the body not only affecting the kidneys but other organs in the body (Alcoholism and Kidney Disease). Alcohol also greatly affects the liver which helps filter waste from the body. The symptoms of alcoholic liver disease may look like other health problems, making it hard to catch the diagnosis in time to effectively treat it. The only effective treatment for patients whose liver disease (usually cirrhosis) has become terminal and irreversible is transplantation (Liver Transplantation for Alcoholics with Terminal Liver Disease). In order to get a liver transplant you will have to be on a list that is usually long and some people won't even be able to wait that long before they pass away. However some transplant centers in the United States have refused to provide liver transplants to patients who have alcoholic liver disease. If you are unable to get the liver transplant you will ultimately experience a slow and painful death.

More than half of alcoholics have a lack of thiamine, or vitamin b and some of them will develop a serious neurological disorder called Wernicke- Korsakoff syndrome. Thiamine deficiency is caused by bad eating habits. People who abuse alcohol regularly usually do not have very nutritional eating habits that fulfill their vitamin needs. Alcohol also inflames the stomach lining which causes vomiting which also affects the body's absorption of crucial vitamins. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a disease that consists of two separate syndromes, a short-lived and severe condition called Wernicke's encephalopathy and a long-lasting and debilitating condition known as Korsakoff's psychosis (Alcohol Alert). The symptoms of Wernicke's encephalopathy include mental confusion, paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes (i.e., oculomotor disturbances), and difficulty with muscle coordination (Alcohol Alert). The symptoms that come along with Wernicke's encephalopathy should be enough of a detriment for people to change their ways before they end up with the more serious symptoms brought on by Korsakoff's psychosis.

Korsakoff's psychosis is the more severe side of this syndrome that can cause you to be in custodial care for the rest of your life. Korsakoff's psychosis (or syndrome) is a severe, diencephalic amnesia caused by thiamine deficiency (An Overview of Korsakoff Psychosis). Considered the most well-known alcohol-related brain damage disorder, Korsakoff Psychosis affects 1 in 8 people with alcoholism (An Overview of Korsakoff Psychosis). This disorder is typically characterized by inattentiveness and difficulty in forming short-term memories (An Overview of). When damage to the brain is more severe, the course of care shifts from treatment to providing support to the patient and his or her family (18). Custodial care may be necessary for the 25 percent of patients who have permanent brain damage and significant loss of cognitive skills (Alcohol Alert). Even though Korsakoff's psychosis is treatable if caught early, most people don't recognize their symptoms; some are even in denial about having the syndrome. Even if you recover from Korsakoff Psychosis you will still have permanent brain damage.

We only have one life and one body, binge drinking is not worth throwing all that away. Everyone deserves to go out and have a good time but doing it responsibly and in moderation is the way to go. Nothing that ultimately makes you feel bad in the long run should be worth risking your life, or living in a depressed state or requiring life time help to do normal everyday things. These damaging and dangerous examples should be enough to deter you from binge drinking.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,956 4810  
Nov 5, 2022   #2
There is a big difference between alcohol and an alcoholic beverage. The writer should make sure to use terms that refer to the beverage rather than the chemical to avoid any confusing references in the paper. The opening sentence already provided some confusion for the reader because of the lack of proper terminology use.

Being a definition based essay, the writer should take more time to explain what qualifies a drinking session as a binge. What is the difference between over drinking and having a binge session? It is important to differentiate between the two since the effects of over drinking are far less detrimental than binge drinking.

The second paragraph is totally unacceptable. It does not use personal insight from the writer and is composed almost solely of paraphrased information from other sources. Even as these sources are acknowledged in the paragraph, this cannot be considered an academic reference coming from the writer since it is heavily reference based and lacking in writer participation in terms of understanding, explanation, or application to a specific question the writer is trying to respond to.

The writing is heavily reliant on cut and paste information at this point. It does not even try to get beyond the cited sources. Citations and paraphrasing cover more than 30 percent of this paper, which makes it seem like it was written by an essay mill rather than the student. It may come across as suspicious to the professor grading the paper. When every paragraph is composed of information cited from only a single source all throughout, the professor will suspect the student of academic dishonest. Lessen the citations and work more on expressing yourself in general terms within the essay.

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