High Risk Drinking

When you hear this term you might picture someone passed out or unable to walk.What is High Risk Drinking?

When you hear this term you might picture someone passed out or unable to walk. The truth is, often, you are engaging in high-risk drinking long before you get to this point. Any time a person engages in drinking that increases the risk of negative consequences, it is high risk drinking. You may have heard it referred to as binge drinking. Using this term national studies have defined this level as five drinks per session for males and four drinks per session for females.

To some, this level of drinking may not seem like a lot and to others it may seem like a great amount. It is important to remember the actual level at which this happens will vary from person to person. These numbers are used because research shows that the odds of experiencing a variety of negative consequences go up once this threshold is crossed. In other words, students who drink at or above this level place themselves at a high risk for experiencing negative consequences.

Consequences of High Risk Drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines four main categories of consequences or negative life events that are a direct result of alcohol consumption. They are:

  • Social problems (e.g., physical or verbal aggression, marital difficulties, loss of important social relationships)
  • Legal problems (e.g., arrests for driving while intoxicated, public inebriation)
  • Educational/vocational problems (e.g., academic difficulties, termination from employment, failure to achieve career goals)
  • Medical problems (e.g., physical injury, liver disease, central nervous system disease)