Americans binge drinking more
January 10th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

Americans binge drinking more

Binge drinking is a bigger problem in the United States than previously thought.  Adults binge drink more frequently and consume more drinks when they do, according to the CDC.

Ursula Bauer, Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, announced the findings during a telebriefing Tuesday.  “Excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, accounts for 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year,” she said, “making it the third leading preventable cause of death.” Those deaths are typically the result of motor vehicle crashes or violence against others while under the influence.

“Binge drinking,” said Bauer, “is defined as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for women and five or more drinks on an occasion for men.” The new numbers from the CDC's January Vital Signs report reveal that 1 in 6 adults in the United States binge drink, usually 4 times per month, and consume an average of 8 drinks per occasion.

While binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes in excess of $75,000, the largest number of drinks consumed per occasion was greatest for those with household incomes of less than $25,000. Also somewhat surprising: while binge drinking is most common among 18-34 year-olds – when those 65+ binge drink – they do so more frequently.

Dr. Robert Brewer, Alcohol Program Lead for the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health promotion, noted that many binge drinkers are college students, high school students, active military and medical students.

According to the report, more than half of the alcohol adults drink is consumed while binge drinking and more than 90% of the alcohol young people drink is while binge drinking.

Binge drinking, among other things, can lead to unplanned pregnancy, the spread of STDs, SIDS, and – of course – alcohol dependence. Excessive alcohol consumption in men increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Women are more vulnerable to brain, heart, and liver damage.

“Binge drinking causes a wide range of health, social, and economic problems,” says CDC Director Thomas Frieden. “We need to work together to implement proven measures to reduce binge drinking at national, state, and community levels.”

No more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men is considering drinking in moderation.


soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. Gene

    With the Democrats in the White House, who can blame anyone for binge drinking?

    January 11, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      gee, gene, that was very clever. congrats on getting those synapses fired up

      January 11, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      With the GOP-obstructionists in the Congress holding the country in gridlock its no wonder people are binge drinking.


      January 11, 2012 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
    • Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

      Gene: I think you should use quotation marks when speaking John Boehner's words.

      January 11, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • Lorenzo

      I get it. Bringing up the Repubs or Dems in response to every news article is, like, an Internet meme. You're hip and funny.

      January 11, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Midget "Gene" when was the last time you had your brains checked?
      Missed out on your brain medication to help you think like a normal human being?

      January 11, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy, Puristat Digestive Specialist

      Wait, I hear something... is that the sound of your liver crying?

      Show it some love with a our easy liver health diet, and liver cleanse.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  2. abmarconi

    Not shocked by this article. I've seen my neighbors binge drink (1/2 a large bottle of rum per person binge drink) regularly. On average they go through two to three large bottles of rum a week. They fight- both with screaming matches and fists and both regularly ignore their son- because when you are hungover you don't want to deal with a hyper-active seven year old. The odd thing is they are really nice people to be around...when they haven't been drinking. It brings out the worst in them.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kitty

      These people should be report to Children's Protective Services. That's child abuse!!!

      January 11, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      That's not binge drinking, that's alcoholism.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Pud

      I think we're going to have to start closing our shades..

      January 11, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Kitty, what was posted above isn't child abuse. Now, child neglect seems very possible.

      January 11, 2012 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
  3. Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

    Interesting just how some have decided to "solve" their economic problems. But, the binge drinker is not the real problem. It is the person who sits next to them and then lets that person drive home, who is the REAL PROBLEM.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yo

      yeah, because someone being a alcoholic is someone elses problem

      January 11, 2012 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
    • Sunflower

      No different from someone using a cell phone and driving.... I have near misses from cell phone users several times a week.

      January 11, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      I am trapped every night, i can not leave my house, i am a snigle parent, i will not leave my children, i wont drink spirts or wines any more as they cause anxiety. i love drinking beer, but it makes me fat i run every day, but it only pauses the weight gain. I am trapped and bored every night and enjoy beer with tv, films xbox and Google of course. When i am at home at night when kids are in bed and dont drink, i am bored frustrated and cant sleep. tryed replacing it, nothing works. Help!

      April 8, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
  4. Larry

    So if I buy a six-pack and only drink 4 beers, the other two beers get really bored.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. unowhoitsme

    Unfortunately, it's how people deal with stress. They need to take the edge off.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bender

    They say this like it's a problem. If one wants to get drunk, binge. Knock it out as quickly as possible.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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  7. B

    New headline for this story: Honesty on surveys sees dramatic rise!

    January 11, 2012 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jessica

    Maybe if the age for drinking was lowered, being as twenty one is ridiculous, we wouldn't have this problem. Teenagers can be jailed as adults? But can't drink till 21, thats completely messed up.

    January 11, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. JuneCleaversBeaver

    How can you say you've been drinking all day unless you start early?

    January 11, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. matthouse

    getting drunk is fun so yes binge drinking is always going to be up

    January 11, 2012 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joe citizen abroad

    The guy in charge of the alcohol program is Dr. Brewer? Okay. That's funny.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chris

    So wait... drinking a 6 pack within the time it takes to say watch a football game from pregame show to the end, and including post game wrap up (one occassion) would be considered binge drinking? One 6 hour evening out at the bar (a long night for some, but common for others) with one drink an hour would be binge drinking?

    I think the problem is more with the conservative view of drinking. France claims 5 drinks per day, per man is fine. Australia claims 4 drinks per day per man, with 2 days abstaining per week is fine. Seems to me, the definition of binge drinking is off in this study.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kitty

    Binge drinking can be fatal!!! It's VERY dangerous!!!

    January 11, 2012 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. marko

    If binge drinking weren't such an issue in the US, evangelicals wouldn't have such a problem with alcohol. Look at Europe, their children drink wine at meals. We can laugh about snobby coffee and wine drinkers but at least they have the right idea that alcohol is BEST when enjoyed with a meal and taken in moderation. Idiots with no self control are ruining it for the rest of us by encouraging manufacturers to produce cheap wine and beer.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thizz

      "Idiots with no self control are ruining it for the rest of us by encouraging manufacturers to produce cheap wine and beer." Care to elaborate on that? Manufactures are still producing expensive wine and beer; so buy that, not the cheap stuff.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Oh yes, if only those fools would stop so we could have a higher cost per unit on alcohol.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • Emperor Norton

      Yeah, there's probably something to that. For whatever reason, our culture seems to have a very real problem with moderation in anything; you're either abstinent or addicted. There are a lot of things we could learn from older, calmer cultures.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  15. Senator Cletus Scoffpossum

    So if I go hang out from 6pm till 11pm on a Friday night and have one drink per hour giving myself an hour before I go home at 12 I am a binge drinker? I would not even blow above the legal limit. Sounds to me like the definition needs to be adjusted.

    January 11, 2012 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. larry5

    And don't forget the smoking that goes with a few drinks. And the junk food on the way home after a bender. Booze, junk food and smoking are a great combination. Combine all that with an STD and you have the makings of a great night. The topper would be a DUI arrest and time in jail, that is if you don't kill someone on the way home. Isn't life great when seen through blood shot eyes while you're vomiting in the gutter and urinating on yourself while looking for your keys. Some people just know how to party.

    January 12, 2012 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
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