Health- Heavy Episodic Drinking

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Health Behavior Interview – Part 1
The health behavior I’ve chosen to research is heavy episodic drinking, also known as binge drinking. The definition of episodic drinking according to the World Health Organization (2013) is the consumption of at least 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the past seven days. Heavy Episodic Drinking, HED, is considered one of the leading indicators for accidents related to alcohol use. The WHO (2013) also notes that worldwide there are about 1.5% of drinkers who participate in a weekly episodic drinking occurrence. Due to a larger population of men than women worldwide, men are disproportionately affected by episodic drinking. Men are found to be four times as likely as women to have a weekly episode of binge drinking. However, there seems to be a bigger problem surrounding women and girls who are episodic drinkers. According to the CDC (2013) one in eight women binge drink, increasing their risk for many health issues such as breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy. The CDC publishes an annual report known as Vital Signs which contains information about the growing problem of episodic drinking. In their latest report they found that about 14 million women in the United States binge drink at least 3 times a month and consume about 6 drinks per binge. The definition of binge drinking for women as defined by the CDC (2013) is consuming 4 or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion.

The issue of episodic drinking is most prevalent among women regardless of the life threatening affects and associated health problems. Binge drinking has been found to be most common however, in high school aged girls and young women. The largest population of young women whom are episodic drinkers is among white and Hispanic females within the group of household incomes falling around $75,000 and up (CDC, 2013). Not only does frequent alcohol use pose major health risks for young people, but it also can result in permanent damage to areas of the brain such as the pre frontal cortex (National Institutes of Health, 2008). The overall problem and reasons regarding why episodic drinking is of more concern for young females rather than males are due to the higher amount of risks found with female binge drinkers. The female body reacts differently to alcohol than the male body. Women’s bodies process alcohol differently and they are typically smaller in size and weight than men. Most health behaviors are influenced by an individual’s physical and social environment. A high rate of episodic drinking found within a community could be linked to a higher availability of alcohol and at low prices. Also, underage drinking such as what is seen among high school girls is said to be a result of alcohol advertising and marketing. All children and adolescents are influenced by what they see in the behaviors of adults and their parents, so if episodic drinking occurs in the home or around the child it is increasing the probability of the child drinking at a young age or becoming a binge drinking in adulthood. Reference List

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Binge drinking: a serious, under-recognized problem among women and girls. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Vital signs: binge drinking (January Edition). Atlanta, GA: CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/bingedrinkingfemale/index.html National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2007). The science of addiction (NIH Pub No. 07-5605). National Institutes of Health. www.drugabuse.gov Health Behavior Interview Part II:

Drinker (A)
a. How old were you when you started this behavior? Socially at 17 b. Describe the factors that influenced you starting this behavior, or NOT starting it. Friends “they were doing it so why not try it? Plus it was usually free” c. What are the factors that keep you engaged in this behavior,...
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