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April 2, 2003

Definitions of Binge Drinking

JAMA. 2003;289(13):1635-1636. doi:10.1001/jama.289.13.1635

In Reply: In response to Dr DeJong, the definition of "binge" drinking as the consumption of 5 or more drinks on a single occasion (often modified to 4 or more for women) is widely used and accepted.1 Indeed, reduction in binge drinking among adults is a Leading Health Indicator in Healthy People 2010,2 and the NIAAA uses the 5 drink/4 drink levels to delineate risky drinking.3 Nonetheless, we acknowledge that "binge" is also sometimes used to describe prolonged periods of intoxication among alcohol-dependent individuals, as well as excessive eating over short periods of time.