The perception that it’s the college crowd most given to binge drinking and alcohol poisoning has just been proven false, thanks to a study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Cause of a Deadly Problem
Of the 2,221 reported alcohol poisoning deaths between 2010 and 2012 (that’s roughly six per day), three-quarters were men between the ages of 35 and 64 with the highest incidence aged 45-54, according to the report findings.
“Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, head of the alcohol program at the CDC. “It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults.”
Alcohol poisoning deaths are most often due to binge drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This form of drinking is defined as four or more drinks in one occasion and five or more for men.
The massive quantity of alcohol used by binge drinkers can overtake the normal function of some parts of the brain, and can shut down its control over a person’s breathing, heart rate and even body temperature.
The report also goes on to state that 38 million American adults report binge drinking four times each month, on average, but pointed out that a great majority of these binge drinkers (90 percent) are considered alcohol abusers, not alcoholics with an alcohol dependency.
The Finer Details
The New York Times’ health page lists the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse:
“Alcoholism is when you have signs of physical addiction to alcohol and continue to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities. Alcohol may control your life and relationships. Alcohol abuse is when your drinking leads to problems, but not physical addiction.”
In addition to the possibility of alcohol poisoning, binge drinkers could also compromise their immune systems, putting themselves at a higher risk for developing pneumonia and infection, according to researchers at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
“The study makes the point that one episode of this type of drinking can certainly be disruptive in your immune system and potentially lead to problems,” said the study’s lead Dr. Majid Afshar Afshar.
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