Women binge drinkDrinking, most people agree, is a social activity that is shared with friends or family. It is also a way to relieve stress from the everyday workload and also an opportunity for some to socialize with strangers. But some people take drinking too far to what is known as binge drinking.

Binge drinking entails drinking patterns that go beyond the appropriated moderate drinking recommendation of 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks for men. It also involves drinking with the purpose of intoxication. Men are known to consume larger amounts of alcohol but recent studies have shown that the rate for women has also increased. What is more alarming is that younger women, especially high school girls, constitute the majority of that rate. This recently released  CDC report describes it as an underrecognized problem among women and girls.  A study conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that women ages 18 to 34 were found out to be the common binge drinkers among any other age groups.

Women who started binge drinking at such a young age are vulnerable to  health risks that may lead to more serious conditions. According to an article by BBC entitled Women and Binge Drinking, some of these diseases include liver disease, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and may even lead to death.  In an article by Dailymail, Professor Peter Boyle from Birmingham University stated that women who engage in binge drinking have increased their chances of contracting breast cancer by 40 percent. Drinking large amounts of alcohol may interfere with oestrogen, the hormone that facilitates female sexual development.

A common illness among women is osteoporosis, which binge drinking can increase the chances of contracting it.  The National Osteoporosis Foundation has stated in an article by Sciencedaily.com that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can affect the body’s calcium supply. Calcium intake, bone density and bone strength is also greatly decreased.

Aside from the mentioned health risks, young women are also vulnerable to sexual assault, rape or have engaged in unprotected or risky sexual activities. Since many girls have no control of themselves once intoxicated, they are left defenseless of any advantages that strangers may have planned. Binge drinkers may find themselves waking up in the morning without any idea what happened the night before. This may lead to contraction of sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy.  Girls who are victims of sexual assault while intoxicated may not know that they have already conceived a baby during the encounter. If they will continue to binge drinking while pregnant, it will seriously harm both theirs and the fetus’ health. With these consequences, young girls are not supposed to experience these scenarios at this point of their lives. The lack of responsibility and control for their actions may lead to long- term problems.

There are many factors that may encourage young women to engage in binge drinking. First, media’s presentation of alcohol consumption has affected the younger generation’s attitude towards it. Pop- culture, songs and movies that show drinking alcohol as cool, fun and free of any liabilities are rampant. But since media presentations are manipulated and the outcomes are often many times far from reality, young women may not know how to handle the consequences in real life. Binge drinking is also often times presented as something trivial. Most media presentation do not show the serious effects of binge drinking and so have implanted a wrong impression about excessive drinking.

A second factor that encourages early binge drinking in women is peer pressure. Their peers see some people as outcasts when they do not engage in the same social activity. Teenage girls feel a great need to be part of cliques and groups and may go to great lengths to be part of a certain circle of friends.

Can we still do something about binge- drinking? There are many ways that we can still mitigate this problem. Educating the youth is one of the practical ways that can be done to answer this. The existence of a venue where young women and girls can go to acquire information about the effects of alcohol to their health can really help them become more responsible when drinking. Social media can also be a tool to effectively present the dangers of binge- drinking. Policies and legislations that can help reduce the outlets where young people can have access to alcohol can also greatly contribute to mitigate the problem. Also, stricter implementation of laws regarding excessive alcohol consumption and monitored alcohol selling can also be put in to action. There are still many ways we can answer the problem of binge drinking. The most important thing right now is that society has identified it as a problem and that is the first step in coming up with solutions.