How Can Binge-Drinking Affect the Brain?

By Isabella Sorresso

It’s no secret that students at the University of Florida indulge in drinking alcohol from time to time. From elaborately celebrating 21st birthdays, to attending  frat parties, or just having a beer with dinner, alcohol is present all around this college town. But what happens to your mind when you take it just a step too far?

unnamed-5

Photo via Unsplash

Binge-drinking is defined as “as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours,” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or the NIAAA.

Binge-drinking can have both long term and short-term effects on the physical brain and the headspace you’re in throughout the day. Short-term effects include increased risk of unintentional injuries, risky sexual behavior, memory blackouts and being involved in violence, according to MedicalNewsToday.

On the other hand, long-term effects include high blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and liver disease, according to MedicalNewsToday.

Alcohol is also a depressant, so after a night of binge-drinking you may feel very low the next day, more than just the average hangover. Though many use a night of drinking to escape their depression and to feel more social or loose at a party, continually abusing alcohol as a coping mechanism can actually worsen your depression.

According to the American Addiction Centers, some have genetic predispositions that make them more vulnerable to depression and alcohol issues, and that one can trigger the other. Alcohol can also make use of antidepressant medications less effective.

If you are experiencing depression, see a mental health professional before partaking in drinking.