Binge drinking is a dangerous pattern of drinking that can put your health and safety at serious risk. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as drinking that raises your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or higher. A rough way to estimate this is 5 or more standard drinks in two hours for men or 4 or more standard drinks in 2 hours for women or anyone over the age of 65. A standard “drink” is usually equal to a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of distilled liquor, or a cocktail or mixed drink. This definition is based on the percentage of alcohol usually found in these different drink categories.
Binge drinkers are more likely to experience alcohol-related incidences of physical and verbal abuse, property damage or loss and fear-related situations. Binge drinking is associated with risky sexual behavior, including multiple partners and sex without barrier protection (condoms). These effects are in addition to injury due to motor vehicle accidents.
Despite the dangers, too much and too fast has its attractions. An Australian study found men who engaged in frequent heavy episodic drinking and women who drank more frequently were given a higher status among their peers than those drinking less. The higher social status was also linked to drinking more on an occasion. The author of the study stated, "We don't really know why a higher social status is associated with more drinking but, for young men especially, it may be related to the perception the ability to tolerate large amounts of alcohol is associated with 'coolness', power and masculinity. For young women, tolerance of alcohol is evaluated positively by female peers, often as a sign they can 'keep up with the boys'."
The legal limit to drive is a BAC less than 0.08 percent.