21st Birthday Binge Drinking

A word to the wise on your 21st birthday.

It is a time honored tradition for young people to celebrate their newly acquired drinking status by going out with their friends and drinking far more than they or their livers can handle. I have lost count of how many unfortunate 21 year olds I have seen in the sorry aftermath of their revelry. But I do know that young people who are extremely drunk are not funny or cute, despite what the movies would have us believe. ER nurses are never pleased when they have to take care of the ridiculously drunk young adult, because invariably they also must deal with vomit, urine, and attitude problems. Usually the patient has some relatively boisterous “friends” in tow, probably the characters that a few hours prior to arrival were shouting, “Drink, Drink, Drink!” But by far the biggest problem with the 21st birthday tradition is that people can get very sick or hurt from heavy drinking, especially if they are not used to it, and their friends are egging them on. I have treated patients with broken limbs, head injuries, dehydration, and even a fraternity member with hypothermia from being stranded outside by his brothers.

I recently treated a 21 year old who was already completely intoxicated when his friends encouraged him to gulp down a drink known as “Adios, Motherf—er.” The drink was so successful that he went into an unconscious state, and his friends ended up calling 911 when they could not revive him. He required IV fluids, and observation for several hours. His friends may have paid for the drinks, but I doubt seriously they picked up the ER tab. If you are about to turn 21 and are looking forward to a wild night with your friends, here’s my recommendation–pick your most responsible friend, ask him/her to watch out for you, and slide you into bed when you’ve had enough. Your brain and liver will thank you, and so will I.

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{ 2 trackbacks }

» 21st Birthday Binge Drinking
11.12.08 at 7:17 pm
Dangers of Binge Drinking | Senior Health Moment
11.13.08 at 11:14 am

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Future Doc 11.13.08 at 11:38 am

Now imagine the same situation in the UK with an 18 year old. I just celebrated my 18th and got trashed, but not too the point of vomit and possible liver damage.

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