Binge drinkers have a higher risk of alcohol-related injury than chronic, heavy drinkers, the Health Behavior News Service reported Feb. 22.
Binge-drinking women who otherwise drink in moderation had seven times the risk of injury as nondrinkers, while binge-drinking men increased their injury risk sixfold.
“It’s not only the amount of alcohol consumed that shapes the risk for injury, but also the usual consumption pattern,” said study author Gerhard Gmel of the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems. “At highest risk are those who usually consume moderately but sometimes binge drink. This is true for both sexes.”
The study was based on records from 8,736 people admitted to hospital emergency departments; researchers examined the relationship of injuries to average weekly alcohol consumption, binge-drinking episodes, and the amount of alcohol consumed prior to admission.
Gmel warned against prevention that focuses only on chronic drinkers, saying that many binge drinkers will be missed.
The research appears in the March 2006 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. From; Join Together Online