The short and simple answer to whether or not binge drinking can kill you is yes. Binge drinking is very dangerous, and depending on how much you drink at once, even your first experience binge drinking can be fatal. Most people will never drink enough to be poisoned by the alcohol they're consuming; however, some have high tolerances and will pass out without vomiting the going to the bathroom, which helps eliminate some of the alcohol from the body. In these cases, potentially life-threatening conditions could develop.
Binge drinking is dangerous because you're taking in alcohol faster than your liver can process it. A common guide is to have one drink— determined by the proof of the alcohol—per hour and then have a glass of water as a spacer. Eating with alcohol will also help reduce its effects. However, binge drinking often occurs when people are at parties, bars, or clubs; throwing back a beer is normal, but having five in a row while competing with another guy to see who can handle it better and impress a pretty girl will likely make you very ill.
While you're taking in alcohol, your blood-alcohol content is rising, and your liver is working to reduce the potential damage. The liver is essential to your health, eliminating toxins and storing blood sugars that you need to live.
When you drink heavily, fat builds on your liver. A fatty liver is more prone to inflammation, and this inflammation can cause issues like cirrhosis. Advanced problems with the liver can cause life-threatening situations like liver failure if not treated appropriately.
Your liver isn't the only thing that's going to suffer if you drink too much. The effects of alcohol can trigger a variety of problems, like seizures and mood swings, and you may be in a lot of pain or in a groggy, irritated state. Your brain, heart, pancreas, and other vital organs will also have to work harder to keep up.
Your temperature regulation, sleep cycles, and cognitive functions can be affected by drinking. Your memory may be blank when you wake up from a particularly long night out binge drinking; that's because the glutamate neurotransmitter wasn't able to work properly. Whether or not you want to forget that night, drinking too much alcohol is not the way to do it.
Your brain can also be damaged by binge drinking. When your liver breaks down, too many toxic substances build up, and these substances can damage brain cells, causing anxiety, depression, comas, and coordination problems. Ammonia and manganese can also find their ways to your brain, causing hepatic encephalopathy, which can be fatal.
We all know that the heart is vital to living, but did you know that drinking too much can actually weaken it? Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a condition that can result from binge drinking or alcoholism, and it causes the heart to droop and stretch in the wrong ways. As a result, the heart can't pump enough blood to the body, and the organs suffer from lack of oxygen.
If you develop this condition, you might have trouble breathing, feel fatigued often, and experience swelling around your ankles or legs. You might also struggle with an irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, you'll be facing heart failure, and without addiction treatment, you'll die.
Chronic cases of alcoholism and binge drinking can also cause heart rate abnormalities. These irregularities can create arrhythmias over time, some of which are fatal. Binge drinking can also cause hypertension, lead to strokes, and constrict blood vessels; all of these issues may lead to a sudden, and sometimes fatal, emergency.
The pancreas, an important organ that metabolizes food, can also be affected by binge drinking. When it becomes confused from the alcohol, it may start to digest itself instead of sending digestive juices to the stomach. This can lead to inflammation of the tissues and blood vessels. Pancreatitis can lead to pancreatic cancer in some patients, and it can also lead to diabetes or death.
Binge drinking is no laughing matter. If you or a friend ever engage in it, give serious consideration to finding out what your rehab treatment options are in your area by calling toll-free, 24/7 to our help-line at 1-800-928-9139.