You’re not dumb–you know that drinking alcohol, especially underage drinking, is a huge risk. But what you may not know is exactly how much you’re drinking–to the point of binge drinking. New studies show that not only do young women drink more booze than guys do, but We also have much more dire consequences for it.
Women in general are recommended to only have seven drinks per week, while for guys that limit is upped to 14 drinks per week. There’s no sexism behind this, either: our bodies are just functionally different from guys’, so we process alcohol differently and drinking alcohol effects us a lot more strongly and lot more quickly than it does for dudes. (For the science minded: Guys have more of the stomach enzyme gastric alcohol dehydrogenase, which lowers the amount of alcohol that gets into their bloodstreams, allowing them to drink more and feel its effects less.)
Most of the women and girls in the study who drank way over the recommended weekly limit did so in their first few weeks of college. This is a bummer, but it makes sense: Booze is everywhere, and if you don’t know your limits yet, you’re a lot more likely to exceed them until you do.
Aside from the dangerous immediate effects of drinking alcohol excessively–impaired judgment, poor coordination, alcohol poisoning, hangovers, headaches and the upped chance of hooking up with someone you wouldn’t look twice at without beer goggles–there are long-lasting effects of binge drinking. You’re upping your risk not only f or liver damage, liver disease and even breast cancer.
Even scarier? Binge drinking leads to 23,000 deaths for women and girls in the U.S. every year. You already know not to drink and drive (we hope!), so please: Don’t drink and drink and drink and drink. Life’s a lot more fun when you can remember what you did the night before anyway.
Have you ever gone out binge drinking? Has drinking alcohol ever impaired your judgment or health? Have you ever gotten sick from drinking alcohol? Tell us in the comments!