Written by Trevor McDonald
As an adult, you likely consume alcoholic beverages from time to time. And between all the different studies, findings, and doctor’s advice, it can be confusing to keep track of how much drinking is too much drinking. “Moderate drinking” is okay, as long as it’s not “binge drinking,” and “daily drinking” is okay, as long as you’re not doing it all the time. So what’s the deal? In this article we break down binge drinking versus daily drinking, and which one is actually worse for you.
What is Binge Drinking?
According to Alcohol Rehab Guide, binge drinking “involves a dangerous pattern of excessive alcohol consumption,” where your blood alcohol concentration (or BAC) rises to .08 percent or above. Binge drinking can also be defined by drinking more than one drink per hour, for a number of consecutive hours.
As a rule of thumb: for women, binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks within a two-hour timeframe. For men, binge drinking is identified as having five or more drinks throughout two hours.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Not only is binge drinking harmful to your body and your overall health, but it also impairs your judgment and puts you at risk for potentially dangerous situations. Short term dangers associated with binge-drinking include memory loss, dehydration, loss coordination and clumsiness that may lead to injury, and making decisions or taking actions that you later on regret. In addition, binge drinking, and getting your blood alcohol content level that high, also puts you at risk for alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.
There are also long-term consequences associated with binge drinking, which are much more serious and harmful. Some of the long-term consequences that may come about as a result of binge drinking include brain damage, liver disease, cancer, and heart problems. Plus, imbibing in high amounts of alcohol routinely adds up to a lot of calories, which can also lead to significant weight gain.
What is Daily Drinking?
Daily drinking is primarily defined as having one drink per day. According to many studies and doctor’s advice quotes, this is normal, or “okay.” After all, we’ve all heard the news that one glass of red wine per day is actually good for you, and may help keep your heart healthy, right?
However, just because it’s “okay” doesn’t mean it’s something you need to do. At the end of the day, alcohol is still a depressant that adds extra calories to your daily diet, with few health benefits.
Another term that’s typically used to describe daily drinking (even though it is slightly different) is “moderate drinking,” which “entails up to four alcoholic drinks for men and three for women in any single day and a maximum of 14 drinks for men and seven drinks for women per week,” according to Medical News Today. A common example of moderate drinking would be going out to dinner with friends and having a few drinks.
Dangers of Daily Drinking
While there are some benefits associated with a daily glass of red wine, for the most part having a daily drink does much more harm than good. Drinking daily leads to dehydration, which affects both your internal functions and your physical appearance (like your skin and hair). Daily drinking can also lead to decreased productivity and motivation, and even feelings of depression. In general, alcohol has the quality of heightening any existing emotion that you may be feeling, so consuming it regularly is not necessarily great for both your emotional and mental health.
Also, when you have one drink every day, you will naturally build up a tolerance to the effects of alcohol. This may spur you to start drinking more to feel the same “buzz,” which can quickly become a very slippery slope and lead to a greater drinking problem.
At the end of the day, consuming too much alcohol for too long can be damaging to your health, whether it’s daily drinking or binge drinking. If you believe you may have a problem with drinking, whether, from daily drinking or binge drinking, it is 100 percent possible for you to find beneficial treatment, and get the help you need. Remember that you are not alone – the first step to recovery is letting someone else know that you need help.