borg drinking in young adults, underage alcohol abuse and borg drinking effects and risks

The BORG drinking trend amongst young adults on social media has been raising concerns regarding its immediate and long-term risks. Any form of underage drinking or heavy alcohol consumption carries significant health and safety concerns, including alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, liver damage, and co-occurring disorders.

What is the BORG Drinking Trend?

The term BORG drinking, which refers to “blackout rage gallon,” has emerged as a concerning social media trend amongst college students and young adults. A BORG is a large alcoholic beverage in a gallon-sized jug, typically filled with vodka, water, and a powdered flavored drink mix. This social media TikTok trend aims to finish the entire BORG before the social event or party is over without worrying about a hangover the next day. Young adults believe they can prevent alcohol hangovers with BORGs since they’re staying hydrated with a half-gallon of water.

The amount of alcohol in a BORG is equivalent to 17 standard 1.5-ounce shots of liquor, leading to severe intoxication and other health complications. The mixture of water and flavor enhancers with the alcohol in a BORG can dim down the taste of alcohol, which makes individuals drink more. Since alcohol is a diuretic that increases urine production, it releases water and dehydrates the body.

pouring shots of alcohol for borg drinking in college students with alcohol use disorder

The Short-Term Effects of BORG Drinking

Alcohol abuse among young adults, especially college students, is a severe public health concern in the United States. The “college experience” has become widely associated with going to parties or clubs, excessive underage drinking or drug use, and unsafe sexual behaviors. Studies show that almost half of college students ages 18 to 22 consumed alcohol, while 28.9% took part in binge drinking.

For males, binge drinking is considered consuming five alcoholic beverages and four drinks for females. A standard alcoholic drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol, and a BORG contains 25.5 ounces of hard liquor. The immediate risks of BORG drinking for college students can include alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, driving under the influence, car accidents, and other severe health and safety risks.

Alcohol Poisoning

One of the most immediate and severe risks of BORG drinking is alcohol poisoning. Excessive alcohol consumption over a short period can overwhelm the liver’s ability to metabolize it. The liver processes alcohol at a slow rate, typically one ounce per hour. Drinking over 20 ounces of liquor can back up the system, leading to potentially life-threatening consequences, including alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning from BORG drinking can be deadly, affecting one’s heart rate, breathing, and body temperature. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, seizures, slow breathing, skin discoloration, low body temperature (hypothermia), and trouble staying conscious. BORG drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, requiring immediate medical attention.

man with alcohol poisoning from borg drinking, short and long term effects of alcohol abuse in young adults

Impaired Judgment and Coordination

Consuming a large quantity of alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, heightening health and safety risks. College students participating in excessive alcohol use with BORGs are more susceptible to making foolish decisions or engaging in risky behaviors while intoxicated. This can result in drug abuse, falls, injuries, legal consequences (DUIs), and potentially fatal car accidents.

Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance

While there is a half gallon of water in a BORG, alcohol’s diuretic effects can lead to severe dehydration. Alcohol consumption excretes water and electrolytes in the body, further causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This can lead to dizziness, severe headache, and muscle cramps. Severe dehydration from alcohol abuse can affect kidney function, leading to kidney damage.

The Long-Term Risks of BORG Drinking

The immediate effects of excessive alcohol use, specifically in terms of BORG drinking, can result in long-term consequences regarding health and safety. Alcohol poisoning from BORG drinking can affect normal liver functioning, potentially causing severe liver damage and other health issues. Alcohol abuse in young adults, college students, and even high schoolers can cause mental health issues. Young adults in the habit of partying and alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and other substance abuse.

Liver Damage

Chronic alcohol use is one of the most common causes of liver damage and disease, also referred to as alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol-related liver disease from alcohol abuse begins as alcoholic fatty liver or steatosis, progressing to alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis. Excessive BORG drinking can cause inflammation of the liver, leading to alcoholic hepatitis. As someone continues engaging in chronic alcohol consumption, the liver becomes permanently scarred and unable to function correctly. Alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver is irreversible damage to the liver that can lead to portal hypertension and liver failure.

man struggling with alcohol abuse and mental health issues, borg drinking effects and risks, alcohol detox and drug rehab treatment

Mental Health Issues

Long-term alcohol abuse or alcoholism in young adults makes them more susceptible to emotional distress and mental health issues. Young adults may not recognize how alcohol impacts their mental and emotional health, leading them to continue engaging in alcohol use. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders commonly co-occur with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Heavy alcohol consumption can impact circuits in the brain, resulting in impairments in memory, thinking, and mood.

While some may begin drinking to numb these emotions, further exacerbating them, others may start experiencing them as they begin drinking. Mental health issues and alcohol abuse in young adults and high schoolers can result in alcoholism and psychiatric disorders, also known as co-occurring disorders.

Alcohol Addiction

As high schoolers and college students continue to consume alcohol heavily, this heightens their risk for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). They can become dependent on alcohol to socialize with others, enjoy social outings, or cope with stress. Over time, this can lead to more frequent alcohol use and excessive drinking. Alcohol addiction in college students can lead to other substance use, including stimulants, opioids, hallucinogens, and other recreational drugs.

While BORG drinking may seem like a fun college trend among young adults, it can have severe short and long-term consequences on physical health, personal relationships, academic and career performance, safety, and mental health.

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