Study: Binge Drinking Affects Young Adults’ Immune Systems


Think the worst thing you’ll get from a night of hard drinking is a hangover? Think again.

New research published in the scientific journal Alcohol indicates that binge drinking negatively impacts the immune system of young adults for hours after the last sip. Researchers determined that while the body’s immune system ramps up when people are most intoxicated, two to five hours later the immune system is less active than when a person is sober.

The findings show a double health impact of binge drinking, which makes individuals more prone to serious accidents and traumatic injuries while also hindering the body’s ability to recover from those injuries. The research supports other published studies linking intoxication to issues like delays in healing, increased blood loss, and susceptibility to infections. The age of the research subjects is also significant as many young adults believe they are less likely to experience health risks from excessive drinking compared to older individuals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking involves consuming four or more alcohol beverages in a two hour period, usually resulting in a BAC higher than the legal driving limit of 0.08. The CDC estimates that binge drinking accounts for more than half the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S., and one in six young adults partake in binge drinking four times a month on average.

The researchers hope their findings will provide more support for efforts to curb binge drinking. Do you think the results of this study could help reduce excessive drinking among young adults?