New research suggests that several Americans are unaware that they have a drinking problem.
The report, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found over 38 million Americans engage in binge drinking on an average of four times a month.
Study results found that 18 to 34 year-olds are most likely to go overboard when drinking while adults over the age of 66 tend to drink more often.
Heavy drinking is responsible for over 80,000 deaths per year making it the third cause of preventable deaths.
So how do you know when you’ve had too much?
Experts say binge drinking equals four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men.
Researchers report that binge drinking behaviors can no longer be limited to alcoholics. They find that most people fall in between the two extremes.
One sign that study authors say can indicate if you have a drinking problem is when you began participating in risky activity. Experts find that people who normally have a shy personality can easily turn into daredevils once they drink and their inhibitions are lowered.
“Drinking too much on just one occasion can change your life for the worse,” said Gregory A. Smith, MD, an addiction specialist at the Comprehensive Pain Relief Group in Los Angeles.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is attributed to 60-percent of burn injuries and drownings. It is also responsible for 40-percent of fatal falls and about 50-percent of sexual assaults.
Experts also believe that consecutively drinking on the weekends can also be a sign that you may have a problem.
Although some studies suggest that it is beneficial to consume up to seven alcoholic beverages per week to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease, researchers disapprove of indulging in all of the drinks in one sitting. They say that this type of binge drinking can raise your blood pressure and interfere with other medications.
“Plus, it’s easier for women to suffer acute alcohol poisoning that could lead to death because it could take only six or seven drinks for someone who is 5’3″ and 115 pounds, while it may take twice that amount or more for a larger man,” says Dr. Smith.