The CDC earlier this year underscored a serious “under-recognized problem” among women and girls. Although binge drinking is a dangerous behavior, it does not seem to be consistently recognized as a health problem. Binge drinking increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and sexually transmitted diseases as well as a number of other illnesses that can develop over time as a result of alcohol use.
It is estimated that 20% of high school girls binge drink which should be cause for alarm in family circles. Physician screening and counseling can be helpful in identifying such problems before they progress to a more dangerous condition. Educating students about the dangers of drinking is a challenge for every household and school system in the midst of massive alcoholic beverage marketing campaigns.
Physicians point out that pregnant women or women who may be pregnant should not drink at all. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth rates. Other problems such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a number of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that can plague the child for life can result from alcohol use during pregnancy.
Binge drinking for women is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks at a time, 3 or more times a month. Binge drinkers are not necessarily alcohol dependent (alcoholics), but would benefit from counseling to change their behavior. The CDC reports that 1 in 8 women binge drink and average 6 drinks per binge.
New Horizon Medical will screen for alcohol abuse as part of its wellness and weight loss programs. During an initial visit, a practitioner will discuss alcohol use and help identify and problems. New Horizon is a medically supervised wellness center located in Norwood and serving the communities of Westwood, Dedham, Milton, Randolph, Canton, Sharon and Walpole. New Horizon can be reached at 781-269-5400 for free phone consultations.