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Encyclopedia of Social Problems

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Encyclopedia of Social Problems

Vincent N. Parrillo

Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Binge Drinking

William DeJong

Most alcohol treatment clinicians use the term binge drinking to mean a drinking spree that lasts several days—an episode known colloquially as a “bender.” Such drinking is often a diagnostic sign of alcoholism or severe alcohol dependence. In recent years, medical and public health researchers have defined binge drinking more broadly as the consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion. Some researchers specify a threshold of four or more drinks for women, who typically experience alcohol-related problems at lower consumption levels. Researchers classify a person as a binge drinker if that individual has five or more (or four or more) drinks at least once during a particular time period, typically pegged at 2 weeks or a month. Critics call this research definition too expansive, especially in light of its pejorative connotations. One problem is that the definition fails to differentiate between a true bender and In ...

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