The CDC has a somewhat confusing [for me] page on alcohol. First, they classify binge drinking as excessive drinking:

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming

  • For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.

  • For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.

Followed by definition of heavy drinking (as a 2nd form of excessive drinking)

Heavy drinking is defined as consuming

  • For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
  • For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

One is in terms of peaks and other one in terms of average consumption.

Then they talk of long-term health risks for the combined category of excessive drinking:

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance. Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment. Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.

But looking at their references only three seem to be about binge-drinking

These three seem to talking about short-term problems like injuries or unwanted pregnancy. Ok, these could have more indirect long-term consequences, but seem in a different class than cancer, dementia, liver disease etc. Are any of the latter associated with binge drinking?

I'm aware of a review of animal studies highlighted in the Guardian some 10 years ago "Regular binge drinking can cause long-term brain damage". Has any of this (brain damage, liver damage etc.) been actually confirmed in human studies on binge drinking?

  • 1
    To get first-hand results from studies, you can search site:gov "binge drinking" brain (liver, coronary heart disease, etc). You'll mostly get results from PubMed.
    – Jan
    Aug 31 '18 at 13:50
  • 2
    I think this is unfortunately a nearly impossible question to answer, I've looked myself and never found a suitable study. The problem is that patterns of high alcohol use are rarely confined within individuals to only binge drinking or only long term excess, and are unlikely to be at all consistent over the time course on which chronic disease manifests. The best you may have to go by are some acute surrogate measures of uncertain long term consequence. Aug 31 '18 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.