Q. I work hard during the week and party hard on the weekends. I often have several glasses of beer and wine on a weekend night and have at times drunk so much that I pass out. I don’t drink at all during the week. Is there anything wring with an occasional binge?
A. Whether you do it once a month or once a week, as far as I’m concerned drinking until you pass out is a serious problem. Alcohol is a drug m and drinking to point of unconsciousness is, an effect, a drug overdose. As I frequently remind my patients, in high enough doses, alcohol is a poison, and if blood-alcohol levels become too high, it can be lethal.
what I find particularly alarming about your drinking pattern is that you are putting yourself at risk in more ways than you can imagine. Alcohol can severely impair your judgement. Statistically, we know that women who are heavy drinkers are more likely to become victims of sate rape and other forms of sexual assault. Even if you consent to sexual activity while under the influence, you will probably not have the clarity of thoughts to insist that your partner use a condom, which puts you at risk of pregnancy if you are not using another form of contraception and, even if you are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as herpes, AIDS, or chlamydia. If you are drunk, you are also more likely to get into a car with a driver who is intoxicated, and that, too, can be deadly.
From what you are telling me, weekend drinking appears to have become your way of dealing with the stress you’re under drinking the week. You need to find a healthier and safer escape valve.
Dr. Marianne Legato, Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University is an internationally known academic physician, author, lecturer, and specialist in gender-specific medicine. She is founding member of the International Society for Gender Medicine and also the founder and director of The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University and its next iteration, The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine. These enterprises are the first collaborations between academic medicine and the private sector focused solely on gender-specific medicine: the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and of how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender and sex. Her ground breaking textbook on Gender-and Sex Specific Medicine has been published in 2017 in the 3rd edition.
She has published extensively on Gender and Sex Specific Medicine, both scientifically and for the lay public. She is also the founding editor of the journal Gender Medicine, and the Journal Gender and Genome, published for the scientific community. In 1992, Dr. Legato won the American Heart Association’s Blakeslee Award for the best book written for the lay public on cardiovascular disease. She is a practicing internist in New York City and has been listed each year in New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” since the feature’s inception in 1993.