Binge drinking — it's not just a problem among college students

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — When you hear the term "binge drink," what first comes to your mind?

According to the study, U.S. adults consumed more than 17 billion drinks in 2015.

For many people, it's a college party. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a "first-of-its-kind" study about binge drinking this week, and the results may surprise you.

The study found that U.S. adults consumed more than 17 billion binge drinks in 2015, which equates to 470 binge drinks per binge drinker.

A binge drink is defined as a woman consuming four or more drinks within two to three hours, and five or more drinks for men.

Binge drinking was more common for younger adults ages 18-34 years old, but more than half of the binge drinks consumed each year were by adults who where 35-years-old, or older.

These results show that older adults drank less often, but drank more when they did.

Rebekah Brubaker, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Community Service Board Director of Adult Behavioral Health Services, said it is not unusual for people to continue binge drinking even after their college days.

"What we see here is that individuals have been exposed to alcohol at a really young age, and so when that happens, it can be life-long issue that they're dealing with," said Brubaker.

Brubaker explained that alcohol is usually used to have fun, or as a de-stresser, and folks in their thirties are usually experiencing different stresses, which could lead to the high numbers.

The study also found that four in five binge drinks were consumed by men, and that binge drinkers with household incomes below $25,000 a year and education levels less than high school drank substantially more binge drinks than those with higher incomes and educational levels.