The effects of binge drinking and "that guy"

  • Published
  • By Capt. Laura M. Boylan
  • 23rd Medical Group
Who is "that guy" or "that girl?" It is anyone who drinks alcohol in excess, also known as binge drinking.

Binge drinking is consuming more than five standard drinks for males and more than four standard drinks for females in one sitting within the past 30 days. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one ounce of liquor.

It is important to understand what binge drinking is, its implications and how someone can prevent themselves from becoming "that guy or girl."

Alcohol is a depressant and it affects the central nervous system. Once consumed, it enters the bloodstream, the stomach and body tissue and usually takes about an hour to metabolize one drink of alcohol. When a person drinks more than that, they start to feel intoxicated and their blood alcohol concentration rises.

The short-term effects of alcohol can seriously impair physical and mental abilities. It can also cause other problems like lowered inhibition, poor judgment, dizziness, slowed reaction time or reflexes, blurred vision, slurred speech, memory loss and dehydration to name a few.

Drinking alcohol in excess can also lead to irresponsible or impulsive sexual encounters that may result in unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault and a damaged reputation.

In addition, some prescription medications do not mix well with alcohol. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist and make sure to pay attention to prescribed medication labels.

One of the most dangerous effects or consequence of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning as it can lead to irreversible brain damage or death.

Excessive drinking depresses the nerves that control breathing. It can also lead to slow or stopped breathing, irregular or stopped heart beat, choking on vomit, severe dehydration and hypothermia.

Do not let someone "sleep it off." Blood alcohol levels continue to rise even after someone falls asleep or passes out. Watch for these signs and get immediate help if you notice your wingman is mentally confused, has passed out, has cold pale or bluish skin, vomiting, has seizures and slow irregular breathing.

Also, binge drinking is risky and can lead to serious problems that can affect your career, family and overall health.

It can also put you at risk for legal problems, driving under the influence, underage drinking and domestic violence.

Moderate drinking for men is up to two drinks per day and one drink per day for women. However, this does not mean you can save up for the weekend and drink seven all in one night.

If you or someone you know is binge drinking or may have a drinking problem, please call the Moody Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) Program at (229) 257-3898. Evaluations for self-referrals are confidential if being seen for substance abuse education.

It is always better to address issues early in order to avoid on-and off-duty problems or a command referral down the road.

You can also visit the "That Guy" website for further information at, which is a Department of Defense-sponsored prevention campaign.