You may have heard of it but do you know what binge drinking is?
Are you a binge drinker or are you worried about someone who drinks excessively several times a month, or even every weekend? There’s real cause for concern. Alcohol abuse is something that affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, there are almost 100,000 alcohol-related deaths in the country annually. While a number of these deaths are attributable to long-term alcohol use, a large portion is also due to short-term excessive alcohol use, like binge drinking. This means that over 260 people per day die from alcohol-related causes in the United States alone. Despite this, alcohol use still remains the most used drug in the country.
Binge drinking is one of the main causes of alcohol-related death, it is important to learn and understand what this actually is and how it can influence a person’s decision-making. Let’s take a closer at binge drinking.
What is binge drinking
To put it simply, binge drinking occurs when an individual drinks a high volume of alcohol in a short amount of time. More specifically, it is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s BAC levels to 0.08% or above. For men, this normally means drinking about 5 drinks in a two-hour period whereas for women it means 4 drinks in the same amount of time.
Is binge drinking alcoholism
It is important to understand that most people that binge drink are not alcoholics, in fact, one in six U.S. adults binge drink about four times a month. While binge drinking can be a very dangerous, even life-threatening problem those who binge drink do not always have an alcohol abuse problem.
What are the risks drinking excessively
There are a number of symptoms and problems that can occur when someone binge drinks. Some of the most common unintentional injuries associated with binge drinking include:
- Car crashes
Other issues like increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, memory and learning problems, increased risk of cancer and alcohol use disorders can also occur.
Along with these major problems, binge drinking can also lead to a number of immediate side effects that can affect physical health. For instance, some of the physical health consequences that can come from using alcohol in excess include:
- Increased liver problems
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of stroke
- Digestive issues
While there are obviously a number of problems and dangerous symptoms associated with binge drinking, there are ways to overcome this problem and avoid binge drinking.
3 Tips to stop
Do you know the warning signs of problem drinking? If you are worried about your relationship with alcohol, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce your binge drinking and maybe even stop alcohol consumption all together. Follow a few of these simple tips to help you along your journey.
- Set a Date – If you are trying to stop binge drinking, or drinking in general, one way that you can trick yourself into a change is to look at a calendar, select a date in the near future, and tell yourself “this is when I’ll make the change” making the change a few days down the road takes a bit of the pressure off of immediate change and can help you adjust.
- Tell Your Loved Ones – Oftentimes, one of the biggest reasons people drink is to be social with others, it can be easy to grab another beer if your friend is already on his way to the fridge to get another for himself. Telling your friends and family your intentions of not drinking as much, or not at all, can reduce the impact that they can have on your drinking habits.
- Create a Plan – If you are looking to drink, but just not binge drink in excess, you can create a plan before you go out and limit yourself to maybe just two or three drinks. It can be a good idea to tell the people you are going out with about this plan and maybe even give your wallet to your friend to help you stay committed.
While these tips are there to help people who aren’t dealing with major issues related to alcoholism and just want to cut down on binge drinking, if you or a loved one is dealing with alcohol use disorder, or another form of major substance abuse, it is best to seek out professional help.
There are many luxury addiction treatment centers available to help you with your sobriety journey. Alcoholism can be a difficult thing to deal with and overcome alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional rehab facility, like The Hope House, to help you along the way.
About the Author
Joe Gilmore is a creator on behalf of The Hope House, a drug and alcohol rehab organization located in Arizona.