The Dark Side of TikTok: The Rising Concern Over BORG Drinking Trend

bork trend tiktok

This content has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified addiction therapist and a board-certified physician.

This content has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified addiction therapist and a board-certified physician.

Table of Contents

Are you aware of the dangerous drinking trend that has taken over TikTok? Tiktok alcohol drink recipes have become more and more common over the past few years.

But recently, with the new BORG drinking trend, also known as the “BlackOut Rage Gallon,” young adults risk their health and safety for social media fame.

This article explores the trend’s origins, popularity on social media platforms, and potential dangers while calling for greater accountability and responsibility regarding harmful online content.

 

Understanding The “BORG” Trend

“BLACKOUT RAGE GALLON”

The BORG challenge, also known as the “BlackOut Rage Gallon,” is a dangerous drinking trend that has gained popularity on social media platforms like TikTok.

The challenge involves filling a one-gallon container with alcohol, often vodka, and flavoring such as water-enhancing drops or powdered drink mixes.

The idea is to consume the contents of the container within a short period, often with the help of friends or in a competitive setting.

Despite the assumption that adding water and electrolytes might dilute the impact of alcohol, experts warn that the gallon-sized containers promote binge drinking, with one borg possibly containing 16 servings of alcohol or more.

The trend carries serious physical risks such as alcohol poisoning, blackouts, and liver damage and can lead to legal ramifications for underage drinking or driving under the influence.

According to Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, consuming such amounts can be fatal.

Additionally, participating in the BORG challenge may carry potential mental health and emotional implications due to the pressure to create and share content on social media platforms.

It is crucial to prioritize safety, responsibility, and accountability regarding social media trends and behaviors, and to seek help and support for individuals struggling with addiction.

What Goes in a BORG?

In these videos, you’ll witness users taking a gallon-sized water bottle, emptying half of its contents, then introducing up to a fifth of vodka, in addition to squeezable water flavor enhancers and electrolyte powder. Finally, these Borgs are usually branded with catchy names like “Borganic Chemistry”, “Borgan Donor”, and “Captain Borgan”, written with a permanent marker directly on the jug. It’s crucial to understand the potential risks associated with these beverages.

HOW DID IT BECOME A TREND?

The #borg trend has already amassed over 82.5 million views on TikTok, turning a risky practice into a popular trend.

The BORG drinking trend on TikTok gained popularity through a combination of factors, including the viral nature of the app’s algorithm and the desire for users to create content that stands out.

Some users began posting videos of themselves chugging large amounts of alcohol from gallon jugs, often in exchange for likes and followers.

As these videos gained traction and were shared widely, more and more users began to participate in the trend, leading to its widespread popularity.

The trend is concerning due to the potential harm it can cause.

It has prompted calls for greater accountability and responsibility on social media platforms regarding harmful content.

 

The Dangerous Risks Involved

PHYSICAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL ABUSE

Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period carries many physical risks that can severely harm an individual’s health.

One of the most immediate risks is alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short amount of time.

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to irreversible liver damage, resulting in cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and an increased risk of liver cancer1.

The cardiovascular system is also adversely affected, with a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Additionally, alcohol abuse can result in digestive problems, a weakened immune system, and can even lead to various forms of cancer, including mouth, throat, esophagus, and breast cancer.

It can also disrupt normal brain function, leading to memory loss, cognitive impairment, and severe mental health disorders.

Finally, participating in the BORG trend may increase the risk of other substance abuse disorders or co-occurring mental health disorders.

This underscores the need for greater awareness and education around the dangers of binge drinking, dangerous trends on social media platforms, and the need for support and resources for individuals struggling with addiction.

 

POTENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL IMPLICATIONS 

Participating in dangerous trends like BORG can have potential mental health and emotional implications, particularly for younger users who may be more vulnerable to peer pressure and social influence.

Engaging in such trends can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, and physical and emotional harm.

The pressure to create and share engaging content can also promote a culture of comparison and competition, contributing to low self-esteem, poor body image, and other negative outcomes.

Additionally, the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on mental health cannot be ignored.

Binge drinking can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, particularly in individuals prone to these conditions2.

This highlights the need for greater awareness and education around the dangers of harmful trends on social media platforms and the importance of prioritizing mental health and wellbeing.

 

POSSIBLE LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS 

Participating in dangerous drinking trends like this can also have many legal ramifications.

In most states, it is illegal for individuals under the legal drinking age to consume or possess alcohol.

Additionally, driving under the influence of alcohol can result in serious legal consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.

Sharing material that encourages hazardous or unlawful conduct may result in severe repercussions such as monetary penalties, criminal charges, job loss, harm to one’s reputation, and strained personal relationships.

It is essential for individuals to be aware of the legal implications of their actions, and to prioritize safety and responsibility when it comes to social media use.

 

Real-Life Consequences

*Image found at Dexerto

Dozens of University of Mass Students Hospitalized

Over the past weekend, the University of Massachusetts Amherst witnessed a disturbing event as the dangerous TikTok-inspired “borg” drinking challenge led to the hospitalization of 46 students.

This infamous trend, “blackout rage gallons” or “borgs,” involves filling a one-gallon water container with alcohol and flavoring.

This concoction found its way onto college campuses via the TikTok platform.

In dealing with this unprecedented situation, Amherst town manager Paul Bockelman reported the necessity of mobilizing 28 ambulances, including help from neighboring regions, due to the large number of students needing medical care.

While all UMASS students who participated in the TikTok BORGs drinking trend were discharged with non-life-threatening conditions, the situation has raised severe concerns.

Following the unsanctioned “Blarney Blowout” event during St. Patrick’s Day, the university has reiterated its dedication to enhancing alcohol education and intervention.

Additionally, two students were arrested for underage drinking, emphasizing the severity of the current surge in alcohol-related issues.

 

The Root Causes Social Media Spread of Dangerous Drinking Behaviors

THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND POPULAR TRENDS

Psychological and social factors influence the BORG trend and other popular trends on social media platforms.

At its core, the appeal of such trends is often rooted in a desire for social acceptance and recognition3.

Participating in these trends allows users to feel a sense of belonging and connection with their peers.

The possibility of gaining viral fame or increased follower count can also act as a motivating factor.

The immediate feedback loop these platforms provide, in the form of likes, comments, and shares, can stimulate dopamine production, creating a sense of reward and pleasure.

Furthermore, this phenomenon can be ascribed to the bandwagon effect.

This cognitive bias leads individuals to adopt specific thoughts or behaviors if they perceive that others are also doing so.

Lastly, the illusion of anonymity and distance afforded by digital platforms can often lead users to engage in real-life behaviors they might otherwise avoid.

Thus, while these trends may initially seem harmless or fun, the interplay of social pressure, desire for validation, and rewarding feedback mechanisms can contribute to their potential danger and rapid proliferation.

THE ROLE SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYS IN PROMOTING DANGEROUS DRINKING BEHAVIORS

Social media significantly shapes societal norms and behaviors, including potentially promoting dangerous drinking habits4.

Platforms like TikTok can unintentionally glamorize excessive alcohol consumption through popular trends like the BORG.

These platforms often function as echo chambers, amplifying exciting or rebellious trends and rapidly spreading them among users.

The aspect of virality, paired with the potential for validation through likes, comments, and shares, can encourage risky behaviors, particularly among impressionable users.

Also, the visual nature of these platforms often obscures the negative consequences of such behaviors, focusing instead on the immediate thrill or sense of camaraderie.

In such a context, dangerous drinking behaviors can be trivialized or normalized, escalating the risk of alcohol misuse and associated health hazards.

 

TikTok Culture and It’s Societal Impact

TikTok’s culture has significantly influenced society, ranging from how people consume entertainment to the spread of social and political messages.

The platform has catalyzed cultural conversations, encouraging users to share their global creativity, voice, and unique perspectives.

Through its innovative approach to video content, TikTok has revolutionized how people consume and create media, challenging traditional formats and norms.

Additionally, TikTok has brought attention to important social issues, including mental health, body positivity, and racial justice, promoting education, awareness, and advocacy.

However, TikTok has challenges and controversies, including spreading harmful or dangerous trends like BORG.

TikTok can amplify and spread trends at an unprecedented pace, reaching millions of users in hours.

The pressure to create and share content that is engaging and shareable can lead to dangerous behaviors and unhealthy habits, particularly among younger users still developing their sense of self and identity.

The BORG trend underscores the need for greater awareness and education about the dangers of harmful trends on social media platforms and the importance of prioritizing safety, responsibility, and accountability.

It is vital for individuals and communities to prioritize safety, responsibility, and accountability when it comes to social media use, and to seek support and resources as needed.

 

TikTok’s Responsibility and Response

TikTok has responded to the BORG trend by taking a firm stance against dangerous and harmful content, including banning content related to the trend and removing accounts that promote it.

The platform has also partnered with organizations like the Partnership to End Addiction to raise awareness about the risks of binge drinking and provide resources for those struggling with addiction.

Additionally, TikTok has implemented safety measures to protect users from harmful trends and content, including age restrictions on specific content and tools to report and block inappropriate behavior.

While there is still more work to address the root causes of harmful trends like BORG, TikTok’s response demonstrates a commitment to promoting safety, responsibility, and accountability on its platform.

Individuals and communities need to continue to hold social media platforms accountable for their actions and to prioritize education, awareness-raising campaigns, and support and resources for those struggling with addiction.

 

Raising Awareness and Education

IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION AND AWARENESS-RAISING CAMPAIGNS ON ALCOHOL ABUSE

Education and awareness-raising campaigns play a vital role in combating alcohol abuse, by equipping individuals with the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding alcohol consumption.

These campaigns can elucidate the potential risks and damages associated with excessive alcohol intake, helping people understand the repercussions on their physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

They also play a crucial role in dispelling myths and misconceptions about alcohol, such as the belief that it’s a good stress reliever or that its negative impacts can only be seen in long-term heavy drinkers.

By highlighting the realities of alcohol dependence and addiction, these campaigns can encourage early intervention and potentially prevent the onset of abuse.

Furthermore, these initiatives can promote healthier coping mechanisms and lifestyle choices, and help establish community support systems for those battling alcohol abuse.

Ultimately, education and awareness are powerful tools for prevention and recovery in the fight against alcohol abuse.

 

SUPPORT AND RESOURCES FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION

The journey to overcome addiction can be incredibly challenging, underscoring the critical need for support and resources for those wrestling with this issue.

Accessible mental health services, counseling, and specialized addiction treatment programs provide the professional assistance necessary to help individuals navigate recovery.

They offer therapeutic interventions, teach coping strategies, and assist in managing withdrawal symptoms.

Equally important are supportive networks, including friends, family, and peer groups, who can provide emotional assistance and encouragement throughout the recovery journey.

Moreover, educational materials, helplines, and online platforms can help individuals and their loved ones understand addiction better and guide them to appropriate help.

Society must also strive to combat the stigma surrounding addiction, which can often hinder seeking help.

Providing ample support and resources is crucial to facilitate recovery and empower individuals in their fight against addiction.

TikTok has the potential to both promote and moderate trends like BORG, and it is up to us, as individual users and platform moderators, to prioritize safety, responsibility, and accountability.

Let’s work together to create a world where social media platforms like TikTok are not just sources of entertainment, but also vehicles for positive change and meaningful impact.

Remember, the power to make a difference lies in our hands – or this case, our smartphones.

So, let’s use it wisely!

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, please get in touch with us at Cornerstone Healing Center today.

 

SOURCES

[1] Alcoholic Liver Disease

[2] Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Disorders

[3] Let me take a selfie: Exploring the psychological effects of posting and viewing selfies and groupies on social media

[4] #Alcohol: Portrayals of Alcohol in Top Videos on TikTok

Published: 6/12/2023

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julie miller recovery writer and author

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Julie is a recovery advocate, with over two years sober. She is a recovery speaker who believes people can change for the better. Her mission is to write factual, helpful information about addiction, treatment, and recovery. She believes that no one should be left in the dark about the process at any stage of their recovery.
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Clinical Reviewer

Lionel, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) with over 4 years at Cornerstone. Passionate about helping those with addiction, he has trained as an EMDR therapist  adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of addiction, providing an empathetic approach.

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