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Drinking Heavyweights

1 in 10 Americans consider themselves as ‘heavyweight’ drinkers, reveals survey.

In our social circles, there are usually three distinct types of drinkers during boozy get-togethers: heavyweight drinkers, who can take shot after shot without even getting wobbly at the knees; moderate drinkers, who are not quite as immune to the intoxicating effects of alcohol, but can certainly down a few beers without slurring their speech; and lastly ‘lightweights,’ an often derogatory term for those who can’t “handle” their liquor. While describing someone as a ‘lightweight’ may be in jest, a 2016 study by Washington State University actually revealed a scientific explanation behind these kinds of drinkers – a certain receptor in the brain called GABAA overreacts to even small amounts of alcohol, leading to drunk behavior.

DrugAbuse.com wanted to ascertain how drinkers class themselves across America. They surveyed 3,500 drinkers and asked them to rate themselves in one of three categories: heavyweight, moderate or lightweight. Overall, 1 in 10 Americans consider themselves heavyweight drinkers, and when broken down by gender, 10% of men said this as opposed to just 5% of women.

When analyzed by state, it was found that drinkers in West Virginia and Delaware have the highest proportion of hefty drinkers in the country with 1 in 3 declaring themselves in the heavyweight category. Those in Mainers and North Dakota, on the other hand, are the most likely to call it an early night when out drinking with friends – 86% of people in these states considered themselves ‘lightweights.’

Illustrative infographic showing survey results

Drinking Heavyweights

The survey also found that nearly 1 in 10 men consider being able to consume a lot of alcohol as a sign of their masculinity, which is misguided. Moreover, more than a quarter (27%) of heavyweight drinkers say they bond more with other sizeable drinkers, perhaps in the same way smokers do when they congregate in small groups outside of buildings.

It’s also likely that drinking with others who consume similarly heavy volumes of alcohol can lead to excessive consumption due to factors like peer pressure and overall social atmosphere. If people are drinking around you, you may feel left out if you don’t join in. In fact, a s remarkable 81% of respondents say they’re more likely to drink heavily when they’re around drinking buddies, compared to drinking alone.

For those men and women who say they are heavy drinkers, 11% say they engage in excessive consumption during the week. This may also explain why 1 in 3 say they feel regret after heavy drinking sessions.

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