In today’s world, significant numbers of women equate alcohol consumption with personal choice and social freedom. Unfortunately, women who drink have higher chances of developing serious alcohol problems than their male counterparts. One of the most dangerous forms of drinking for women (and men) is the intoxication-promoting practice known as binge drinking. A brief overview will help you to understand how to avoid binge drinking as a woman.
Why Do Women Have Greater Alcohol-Related Risks?
There are two main reasons why women have higher risks than men when it comes to alcohol problems. First, women typically weigh less than men, and therefore experience a greater toxic effect for any given amount of alcohol consumed. In addition, women process alcohol less efficiently than men. This means that alcohol stays in a woman’s system longer than it stays in a man’s system. Public health guidelines in the U.S. reflect these realities, and women must follow a different set of recommendations than men in order to keep their drinking within relatively safe daily and weekly limits.
Avoiding Binging on Alcohol
For both men and women, the baseline standard of binge drinking is the consumption of enough alcohol to reach a legally intoxicated state in two hours or less. As a rule, men can avoid getting drunk in such a short span of time by limiting their alcohol intake to no more than four half-ounce servings of pure alcohol. This is equal to roughly:
- One 12-oz. beer (at 5% alcohol)
- One 5-oz. glass of wine (at 12% alcohol), or
- One 1.5-oz. shot of distilled liquor (at 40% alcohol)
However, women can typically consume no more than three half-ounce servings of pure alcohol to avoid becoming legally intoxicated in two hours or less. In addition to knowing how to avoid binge drinking, you must also consider the overall amount of alcohol you consume per day and per week. Under current public health guidelines, a woman who wants to minimize the risks for diagnosable drinking problems can safely consume no more than three half-ounce servings of pure alcohol per day, and no more than seven half-ounce servings per week. The vast majority of women who exceed these daily and weekly limits qualify as binge drinkers and should consider seeking treatment for binge drinking.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Alcohol – A Women’s Health Issue https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochurewomen/women.htm