Pushing the Limit at Holiday Parties: Dangers of Drinking Games

Parties at home are still proving to be popular all over the country this 4th of July weekend. Whether it’s a backyard barbeque or an evening watching fireworks with friends, a common occurrence at house parties is drinking games. Although seemingly fun at the moment, drinking games can lead to dangerous alcohol consumption behavior and have serious consequences.

Drinking Games

Drinking games are particularly appealing to young adults. The goal of a drinking game is to consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time in a more socially engaging way. Drinking games include competitive games like flip cup and beer pong or games where you simply drink when you hear a phrase or pick a specific card out of a deck.

No matter the type of game, they are designed to facilitate inebriation by promoting the rapid consumption of large amounts of alcohol.2 Because drinking games are played in a social setting, it is easy to get swept up in the peer pressure and excitement of the games and lose track of how much alcohol you have consumed.

When Peer Pressure Comes into Play

Social pressure can make young adults, especially college students, vulnerable. According to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:3

  • Nearly 53% of full-time college students between the age of 18 and 22 consumed alcohol in the past month the survey was administered.
  • Within the same timeframe, an estimated 33% of full-time college students participated in binge drinking.
  • 39% of those full-time college students had an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2019.

College students at schools with prominent fraternities and sororities tend to consume more alcohol than students at schools with less popular Greek life. A lot of drinking games happen with college co-eds at Greek events and alcohol is also a well-known part of fraternity hazing. Since 2000, there have been at least 10 hazing-related deaths at Texas universities, some of which were due to consuming large amounts of alcohol in alcohol-related hazing activities.

Dangers of Binge Drinking

One potential consequence of participating in drinking games is binge drinking. Binge drinking is when alcohol is consumed in large quantities in a short amount of time, bringing a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher.1 This would be about 4 or more drinks for a woman and 5 or more drinks for a man in approximately 2 hours.1

Binge drinking can lead to serious health and safety risks including:1

  • Blackouts.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Unsafe sexual behavior.
  • Unintentional injuries may include falls, drownings, car crashes, and burns.
  • Immune system dysfunction.

In many cases, drinking games encourage participants to consume unsafe amounts of alcohol which can fall into the category of binge drinking.

Texas Rehab for Alcohol Abuse

Engaging in binge drinking behaviors or playing a drinking game does not mean you have an alcohol addiction. However, misusing alcohol can increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder in the future and drinking games are considered a high-risk drinking activity.2,3

Greenhouse Treatment Center, a rehab facility near Dallas, treats alcohol use disorders along with other substance use disorders. Applying evidence-based therapies, Greenhouse creates a customized treatment plan for each patient’s unique needs.

If you think you or a loved one are addicted to alcohol, speak with one of Greenhouse’s admissions navigators today at or check out more information on the admissions process.


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