Prevent binge drinking

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A night on the town after a long week can be fun and relaxing.

But when alcohol is involved, experts say it’s important to know how too many drinks can impact you.

For some people, having a few drinks is a way to wind down. But when a few drinks become a few too many, your health may feel the effects.

“Binge drinking is categorized by a lot of drinking in a short amount of time. It’s technically for males, five drinks within a couple hour period, two to three hour period. And for women it’s four drinks within that same time period,” Serene Thin Elk said.

Serene Thin Elk says binge drinking is typically seen in teens and young adults, but can occur at any age.

She says the classic hangover symptoms may be short term, but too many drinks can have long term effects too.

“You might not make it into work or you might not be your best self at work. It can have impacts on decisions that you may have made the night before that you regret the next day. And just general safety, your executive functioning skills, your ability to use your judgment. It all kind of goes out the window if you’re binge drinking,” Thin Elk said.

But a night out doesn’t have to end with a foggy memory.

Scott Heckel, co-owner of Severance Brewing Company in Sioux Falls says the brewery offers options for people looking to cut back, without abstaining for alcohol altogether.

“We have a lot of what we call session beers. They’re ones that are lower in alcohol that you can have and not necessarily over consume. So we’ve got a couple beers right now that between 3 and 3 and a half percent and we also have some that are around 4 and 4 and a half percent,” Heckel said.

He says that’s compared to about 5 percent in a standard beer.

And there’s even options on tap for those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage but still hoping to enjoy a night out.

“We’ve got a sparkling hop lemonade, we’ve got root beer, we’ve got cold brew coffee. So we’ve got some things for them as well if they want to come partake but not actually drink any alcohol,” Heckel said.

Thin Elk says it’s important to note that over time, binge drinking can lead to an alcohol dependency. She suggests steps including setting a drink limit or time limit for consuming drinks to hold yourself accountable.

“Those are harm reduction approaches where you can really hold yourself accountable for things that you know might get out of control,” Thin Elk said.

If you are concerned about the effects of binge drinking on your health, call your doctor.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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