When you’re a college student, being a Beer Pong champ will definitely get you bragging rights. But unless you have the shooting precision of Lebron James, chances are you’d have to go through countless of beer pong games, as well as consume gallons of alcohol before you finally become an expert. Beer Pong is so popular that there is now a World Series tournament where hundreds of teams compete to win major cash prizes.
But Beer Pong is just one of the many drinking games played in many parties and social gatherings in the country. These games have become huge part of American culture with 95% of Americans saying that they have played a drinking game at some point in their lives. While most people would think that these games are harmless, their increasing popularity brings into question whether these games are creating more alcoholics.
Blame it on the alcohol
Many people are introduced to drinking games in high school or college and while these games usually have different rules of play, the intention is usually the same – which is to get one another drunk. Most games also involve excessive amounts of alcohol in just a very short period of time. With the game Flip Cup, your blood alcohol content can reach .05 BAC in 10 minutes and up to .15 BAC in just a span of 30 minutes.
There is this generally accepted fact that when you’re under the influence of alcohol, you lose your inhibitions. When your brain is clouded, you tend to become more carefree which most people also equate to being more fun. Of course, some people also take enjoyment in seeing others get wiped-out drunk in public. Some even use these drinking games to target unsuspecting females to loosen up.
While some willingly take part in drinking games to have more fun, other people are more into the social aspect of the activity. They do not want to be seen as spoilsports so they participate. Peer pressure also plays a role in forcing many people to get involved. If they are not used to playing these games, it can be very easy for them to experience alcohol’s dangerous effects.
The Dangers at Play
“It’s just a game!”
A lot of people do not recognize the dangers associated with drinking games. While the short-term effect of being intoxicated is obvious, there are other social and health risks that could occur.
When you’re engaged in a high-energy drinking game, you can easily lose track of how much you are drinking. Nobody is really counting how much you’ve consumed. When you have an excessive level of alcohol in the blood, this can lead to a life-threatening condition known as alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, fainting, and seizures.
In a drinking game, it is difficult to really know what’s in your drink. It is not uncommon for people to use drinking games to take advantage of their targets. Mixing drugs or different alcohol drinks are often done to achieve this. These drugs are often designed to get you drunk faster or knock you out unsuspectingly.
Unpredictable or Aggressive Behavior
When you’re drunk, you lose your ability to think clearly. The possibility of saying or doing things that you’ll regret the morning after is very high. You’re also more likely to lose your balance and coordination, which means you should not drive or attempt to walk alone.
Some people also become prone to being aggressive or violent when they’re drunk. This can be dangerous if you are in the company of such people.
Participating once or twice in a social drinking game may not be something to be alarmed about but if you are constantly doing so, this means that you are exposing your body to too much alcohol.
This is actually very dangerous because it can lead to alcohol abuse. This is one of the more long-term effects of drinking games. In fact, according to a study, game playing appeared to increase problems related to alcohol primarily among more moderate drinkers.
It’s not all fun and games
Because of the game play involved, drinking games are often identified as fun moments you always want to relive. Because you remember the excitement while playing the games, you seek out alcohol thinking this is what will give you the same experience, even if in reality, it is really the social interaction you’re craving for.
Like any other drug, the more alcohol you pump into your system, the more you become tolerant to it. When you become tolerant, the longer you’ll last when playing the games or when drinking alcohol socially. This could lead to alcohol dependence which is a very difficult habit to break.
Drinking games are fun, there’s no doubt about that but before going in for a round or two, it’s important to be aware that there are long-lasting negative effects that can be damaging physically, mentally, and behaviorally.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol dependency, help is available today. You can reach out to us at Anaheim Lighthouse to learn more how we can be of help.