Understanding Binge Drinking
Alcohol is a beverage that is consumed by millions of people every year. You’ll see it at social gatherings and special events. While having a drink or two is completely normal, some may be drinking way more than recommended. This could be a sign of potential alcoholism (or alcohol use disorder). One of the more dangerous and risky acts of drinkers is a binge drinking problem.
There is a concerning binge drinking problem in the United States and around the globe. Binge drinking usually has someone drinking large amounts of alcohol in one single setting. Not only can this cause a number of negative binge drinking symptoms but it can also lead to serious injury and sometimes even death. Excessively drinking in the span of a few hours or more can be extremely dangerous.
It’s important to keep an eye on how much you and those around you are drinking. A binge drinking problem also indicates a much more severe problem. If a loved one or friend is binge drinking frequently, they may be struggling with alcohol addiction. It’s important to be aware of the signs of alcoholism and look out for binge drinking symptoms. As a trustworthy and effective facility, Free by the Sea is here to help you and your family live the life you deserve. Don’t wait to get proper treatment.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking occurs when someone consumes a significant amount of alcohol in one sitting. In order for a session to be considered binge drinking, the amount of alcohol being consumed must be excessively higher than a normal drinking session of the same time length. According to the National Institute of Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and SAMHSA, the criteria for binge drinking includes:
- Consuming four or more alcoholic drinks in the same setting at least one day during the month (for females)
- Consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in the same sitting at least one day during the month (for males)
- Drinking enough alcohol in a single setting to raise your blood alcohol concentration to a level of 0.08 at least once per month
As far as the time period goes, there is no set time. However, binge drinking typically constitutes having drinks within a few hours of each other. As of right now, there is no official diagnosis for a binge-drinking disorder (identified by the American Psychiatric Association), like there is for binge eating. As it stands, binge drinking is simply a behavior that can be connected to possible alcohol use problems.
The Connection Between binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse
Unfortunately, there continues to be a problem with alcohol abuse and binge drinking problems among many adults. More often than not those who consume alcohol have probably binge drunk at some point. Binge drinking is an act that is usually consciously made and has a high potential for judgment, so if a person willingly does it, it can be a problematic indicator. Those who are intoxicated have a much higher chance of making poor decisions, have impaired judgment, and can get into serious accidents.
While binge drinking is never recommended or safe in any situation, those who frequently binge drink may have a much more severe problem. If a person regularly binge drinks they are categorized as heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers are much more likely to suffer from alcohol use disorder than regular drinkers. Alcohol use disorder isn’t diagnosed by the specific amount you drink but by a series of behaviors.
There is a strong correlation between binge drinking and alcohol use disorder. This of course is based on how frequently you drink alcohol and how much you binge drink. Alcohol use disorder can be a very destructive disorder for a person and those around them. It’s important to be able to look out for the signs.
A Look at Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Alcohol use disorder occurs when someone completely loses control of their drinking. A person may eventually become dependent on alcohol to function. AUD is not simple drinking here and there, it is drinking excessively on a daily basis. This can begin to take a toll on a person’s entire life. Work, school, relationships, and social life can all be affected by AUD. Binge drinking can easily lead a person to develop AUD over time. The signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:
- Cravings and urges to drink
- Unable to control how much you drink
- Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
- Lack of interest in usual hobbies and activities
- Risky behavior (driving or swimming while intoxicated)
- The desire to cut down how much you drink but no being able to
Binge Drinking Symptoms and Signs
Binge drinking symptoms can vary in severity and usually affect the person in a variety of ways. It is extra important to be able to spot these symptoms in loved ones and friends.
- Poor balance
- Poor decision-making
- Loss of consciousness
- Worsened coordination
- Troubles with memory/memory loss
A person can actually fall victim to alcohol poisoning if a person continues binge drinking. Alcohol poisoning can be potentially fatal if left untreated. It’s important to be aware of how much a person is drinking and whether they may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. If you notice irregular breathing, lowered temperatures, and seizures, get medical help immediately. Those who binge drink a lot will face many health challenges in the long run.
Certain signs indicate a person may be regularly binge drinking. These are very similar to some of the signs of AUD. Many of these signs have to do with the lack of control of their drinking, failing to meet responsibilities, ignoring the concerns of others, and excessively drinking on weekends/holidays. If you are concerned about a loved one or friend, it may be time to get help. Let Free by the Sea be your first step towards recovery.
The Negative Effects of Binge Drinking
Alcohol has a number of negative effects on the body, the mind, and a person’s relationships. These binge drinking symptoms and effects come from how much a person drinks rather than what they drink. The more a person drinks the higher risk they have of negative consequences (in the short and long-term). It’s important to be aware of these effects and understand the full scope of binge drinking problems.
Overall, binge drinking increases the risk of the following negative effects:
- Increased chance of renal problems
- Risk of developing different types of cancer
- Menstrual issues for women and impotence in men
- Possible damage to the liver (cirrhosis among other liver diseases)
- A decreased performance at school, work, or other important areas of life
- Increased risk of accidents (physically and mentally) due to excessive drinking
- Problems with personal relationships when under the influence or when binge drinking
- Risk of developing neurological issues (nerve pain, dementia, movement disorders, etc.)
- Cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and a high risk of heart attack, strokes, etc.
- High chance of developing mental health issues (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc.)
- Increases chance of having memory problems and other cognitive complications in the long-run
- Increased risk in running into legal trouble, criminal activity (as a victim), or other risky behaviors
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse and Binge Drinking Problems
Sometimes the best thing a person can do is seek professional help from trusted sources. Even if binge drinking isn’t a diagnosable disorder, many facilities and organizations recognize it as a precursor to alcohol abuse. Binge drinking is a telling sign of possible alcohol disorder use. Over time, symptoms and withdrawals can begin to develop if a person is frequently binge drinking. The consequences can be potentially fatal if the person doesn’t get help.
At Free by the Sea, we understand how problematic excessive drinking and alcohol abuse can be. It not only affects a person’s health but also their livelihood and mind as well. Binge drinking is the first step towards full-blown alcoholism and alcohol use disorder. There are several options that may be able to help a loved one deal with their drinking. Don’t wait for things to get worse, seek help today.
The Importance of Treatment
Once a problem has been identified within a loved one, it’s important to take the proper steps towards treatment. Alcohol use disorder treatment combines detox, therapy, and medication to help a person come to terms with their addiction. At Free by the Sea, we offer a variety of different treatment options to treat drug addiction and alcohol use disorder.
Let us help you towards a better and brighter future. With a passionate staff of therapists and clinicians, we’re ready to help you today. Don’t wait for things to get worse, get help now. Contact us for more information on our treatment options for alcohol use.