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How to recover from binge drinking?

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Table of Contents

If you’ve ever let alcohol take control of your life, you know that it can become an unhealthy and dangerous habit. Binge drinking is one of the most common signs of a drinking problem. Unfortunately, the drinking culture in the United States is so strong that many people do not avoid binge drinking despite its serious health effects. Heavy drinking often starts as a way to cope with stress or other difficult circumstances, but before we know it, it’s become a regular habit. If you find that you’ve fallen into the trap of binge drinking too often, don’t despair. You can get out and stay out with the help of friends, family members, and professionals who understand how damaging this routine can be. Read on to learn how to stop binge drinking and regain control of your life again.

Binge Drinking Facts

A binge is a period of time when you drink too much alcohol. Binge drinking is the term used to describe drinking large quantities of alcohol at one time. Binge drinking is very common in the U.S. where it accounts for most of the alcohol consumed, and it’s the most common sign of a drinking problem. Binge drinking is also particularly common among college students, but it’s not limited to any particular group or type of person. Binge drinking is different from alcohol dependence because it doesn’t necessarily happen every day. Some people binge drink only occasionally, but that doesn’t mean the behavior isn’t extremely dangerous.

Why do people binge drink?

People binge drink for a variety of reasons. Binge drinking can be a reaction to stress, anxiety, or other negative feelings. Binge drinkers also often do it as a way to fit in with friends. Other people binge drink to celebrate special events or to relieve boredom. Binge drinkers often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior. Some people may try to keep their binge drinking a secret, especially if they live in a culture that frowns on this type of behavior. Binge drinkers may turn to alcohol for comfort or to ease their stress. Drinking can be a coping mechanism to deal with issues like relationship problems, financial pressures, or trouble at work. Binge drinkers may not plan on becoming alcohol dependent, but they often drink to excess without realizing the impact that this behavior can have on their lives.

Short-Term Dangers of Binge Drinking

Some of the most immediate dangers of binge drinking include alcohol poisoning, driving while intoxicated, and an increased risk of falling and injuring yourself, and ending up in a violent or dangerous situation. If a friend is binge drinking, the best thing you can do is make sure he or she gets home safely and doesn’t put others in danger. Alcohol poisoning occurs when your body can’t process the alcohol you’ve consumed quickly enough, and it ends up in your bloodstream and other organs. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal, so if you suspect a friend has overdone it, call 911 immediately. Binge drinking can also lead to sexual misconduct, unwise financial decisions, and other problems. Steer clear of crowds where binge drinking is likely to happen so you don’t get caught up in the frenzy.

Long-Term Dangers of Binge Drinking

The long-term effects of binge drinking can be devastating, and they often take years to manifest. Some of the most common signs of long-term binge drinking include liver disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. Binge drinking can also lead to memory loss and permanent brain damage. If you binge drink while pregnant, it can cause defects in the baby, including fetal alcohol syndrome. If a child is born with this condition, he or she will have lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities. Binge drinking can worsen other health conditions, too, including depression and anxiety. Signs of long-term binge drinking include bad sleeping habits, mood swings, and changes in appetite. Binge drinking has also been linked to a higher risk of suicide. If you or a loved one is binge drinking regularly, get help as soon as possible.

Binge Drinking and Driving

Drunk driving accounts for more than 10,000 deaths each year in the US, and many of those deaths could have been avoided if the driver had simply taken a cab. If you’ve ever been behind the wheel after drinking, you know how easy it is to make a mistake. Binge drinking can lead to a DUI, which can have serious consequences, including fines, jail time, and a criminal record. If you’re caught driving under the influence more than once, you could lose your driving privileges. Binge drinking can also put passengers at risk, so don’t let friends drive while intoxicated. If you know someone who binge drinks, don’t let him or her drive or ride with other people.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that can arise if you drink too much alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin that can be poisonous in large amounts. A person who has alcohol poisoning has consumed a quantity of alcohol that is more than their body can metabolize. When you drink, the alcohol quickly enters your bloodstream and begins to break down. Your body can’t store alcohol for long, so it instead converts it into something called acetaldehyde as soon as possible. When you drink too much alcohol, however, your body won’t convert it into acetaldehyde fast enough. That means there is more alcohol in your system than your body can process, and it can be toxic.

How Much Alcohol Causes Alcohol Poisoning?

The amount of alcohol that causes alcohol poisoning varies from person to person, but there are common warning signs that indicate you may be at risk for developing it. These signs of alcohol poisoning are listed below. Before any of these signs appear, however, it is possible to prevent substance abuse by following certain guidelines. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as consuming five drinks or more for men and four alcoholic beverages or more for women. These guidelines refer to a specific occasion, which is usually defined as a two-hour period. Women metabolize alcohol more quickly, which is why it takes fewer drinks for their blood alcohol concentration to reach peak levels. However, many other factors can affect how quickly a drink raises blood alcohol concentration. These factors include a person’s health, weight, how regularly they consume alcohol, and their age (young adults have faster metabolisms than older adults).

Common Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

The first and most common sign of alcohol poisoning is that you’ve consumed more alcohol than your body can metabolize. This means there is more alcohol in your system than your body can process, and it can be toxic. If left untreated, alcohol poisoning can lead to serious health issues, including death. If you’re with someone who is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Some other symptoms that occur when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is too high include:

  • Breathing problems – Alcohol can affect your central nervous system, which can lead to breathing issues.
  • Unconsciousness – If you’ve become unresponsive, you may have alcohol poisoning.
  • Paleness or bluish skin – This can indicate that you’ve consumed too much alcohol.
  • High or low blood pressure – Drinking too much alcohol can cause changes in your blood pressure.
  • Abnormally elevated heart rate – Excessive alcohol can speed up your heart rate.
  • Abnormally low body temperature – Alcohol can lower your core body temperature.

The Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking too much alcohol is dangerous. Even if you’re not experiencing any of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, you can still be at risk for experiencing them in the future. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you are to experience negative effects. It’s also important to note that alcohol poisoning can be fatal. Alcohol poisoning can quickly develop into a medical emergency. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. If left untreated, alcohol poisoning can lead to serious health issues, including death.

How to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning

First and foremost, you should avoid drinking too much alcohol. There is no real way to tell when you’ve had too much to drink. The best way to prevent alcohol poisoning is to stop drinking when you feel like you’ve had enough. Many people make the mistake of thinking that alcohol poisoning only happens to people who drink a lot or who drink frequently. This is not the case. You can experience alcohol poisoning after just one binge drinking session. You should also be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re at a party. People who are experiencing alcohol poisoning rarely know they have a problem. They may appear intoxicated but may not realize they’ve had too much to drink.

How is Alcohol Poisoning Treated?

There are steps you can take to decrease the risk of alcohol poisoning, but unfortunately, there is no cure. The best way to treat alcohol poisoning is to stop drinking and to get help from a substance addiction treatment center. If you are experiencing symptoms of alcohol poisoning, you should stop drinking immediately. You should also get immediate medical attention as soon as possible. People who experience alcohol poisoning are often given fluids to help their bodies metabolize the alcohol faster. If necessary, they may be given activated charcoal or a stomach pump to help them process the alcohol more quickly. They might also be given a sedative to reduce anxiety. If you experience alcohol poisoning, you might have to stay in the hospital for a few days. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you might receive long-term treatment for alcohol abuse.

How Does Binge Drinking Affect Health?

Binge drinking can have a serious effect on overall health, and it can be especially dangerous for young people. Drinking can negatively impact everything from growth to fertility, and it can lead to early death. Binge drinking can lead to malnutrition, which can slow down growth in young people. It can also lead to vitamin deficiencies that can cause other health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and liver cancer. Binge drinking can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. It can also lower the immune system and make a person more susceptible to other diseases. Binge drinking can lead to depression, and it’s a major cause of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among young people.

Is binge drinking the same as alcohol addiction?

People who binge drink aren’t necessarily alcoholics, but binge drinkers are at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics. Binge drinkers may drink heavily once in a while, but alcoholics drink regularly. Binge drinkers might not show signs of physical dependence on alcohol, but they may have a psychological dependence that’s just as harmful. Binge drinkers depend on alcohol to cope with stress, and they may be at risk of developing an addiction. Binge drinking can lead to changes in brain chemistry that make it harder to stop drinking. Binge drinkers may be able to stop on their own, but the vast majority of people who drink alcohol in this manner will eventually need professional help, especially if they have an alcohol overdose from their excessive drinking.

How is alcohol abuse treated?

If you’ve noticed a pattern of binge drinking that’s out of control, it’s important to seek help. No one is too young or too old to benefit from treatment, and most facilities have programs that are tailored to fit your needs. Binge drinkers may be able to stop on their own, but they should also consider seeking help. Treatment can help you learn how to manage stress without alcohol, and it can also help you get back into school or a career. If you’re struggling with binge drinking, know that there is help available. You don’t have to let alcohol control your life.

Strategies for stopping binge drinking

  • Keep a journal – When you’re in the middle of a binge, it can be hard to see past your current state of mind. Keeping a journal can help you track your binge drinking episodes, see any patterns in your behavior, and determine what might be triggering your binge drinking episodes.
  • Limit your time with friends who binge drink – Some people binge drink as a way to fit in with their friends, so if you’re binge drinking with a group of friends who do this regularly, you may want to limit your exposure to this behavior.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with your stress and emotions – Part of stopping binge drinking is dealing with what’s triggering your drinking in the first place.
  • Find new hobbies to reduce boredom – Binge drinking is often a result of boredom and lack of engagement with others and yourself.
  • Seek professional help at an outpatient rehab – While you can address your binge drinking at home, you may want to consider getting help from a professional. A treatment program can help address the root causes of your drinking and provide you with the tools to keep your binge drinking under control.
  • Help others who are in recovery – Volunteering or helping others in recovery can help keep you accountable and remind you of your own commitment to stop binge drinking.

How to have fun without drinking

Drinking alcohol can be a great social activity. It brings people together, helps them relax, and creates opportunities for trust and bonding. But alcohol has downsides too. In excess, it can have negative effects on your physical and mental health, lead to problems at home or work, and cause relationship issues. Fortunately, there are alternatives to drinking alcohol if you want to cut back or stop drinking it completely. If you’re trying to reduce your drinking or cut it out of your life completely, the good news is that there are loads of other things you can do instead that are just as fun as hitting the bar with your friends on Friday night. These activities will not only keep you occupied when you’d typically reach for a drink but they’ll also keep you feeling healthy both physically and mentally without having any negative side effects like excess weight gain or dehydration.

Go for a run

Running is one of the best ways to de-stress and unwind after a long day. It’s also a great way to improve your mental and physical health and get a head start on your health goals, including losing weight and reducing your alcohol intake – two birds with one stone.

Learn an instrument

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of creating something new with your own hands. Learning to play an instrument is a great way to get this satisfaction and feel accomplished. For many people, music is therapeutic and can have real benefits for your mental health. Playing the piano or guitar can help you relax, reduce stress, and make you more creative. It can also be a great way to make new friends and meet people with similar interests. While playing an instrument does involve practice, it doesn’t require as much time or commitment as other hobbies so it’s great for people who want to do something but don’t have the time to commit to something more involved.

Take up a hobby you’re passionate about

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time or money to start, now is the perfect time to take the plunge. You might want to try your hand at gardening, photography, sports like tennis or basketball, cooking, or even writing a blog. Hobbies are a great way to keep yourself busy, give you something to put your energy towards, and allow you to express yourself creatively. They’re also a great way to meet new people who share your interests and make friends you can spend time with when you’re not hitting the bar. While hobbies don’t have the same direct health benefits as exercise like running does, they still help to keep you mentally healthy and prevent you from turning to alcohol as a crutch.

Go to a yoga or dance class

There are lots of great health and wellness benefits associated with yoga and dancing, both of which are great ways to get out of the house and meet new people. Both yoga and dancing are also ways of expressing yourself and getting creative; so if you tend to bottle up your feelings and emotions during your downtime, they can be great outlets for any feelings you’re not able to put into words. These activities are also great for your mental health. They’re perfect for people who want to reduce stress, get more in touch with their bodies, and feel more relaxed and balanced. They’re also a great way to make new friends and meet people in your neighborhood who share your interests and have similar goals and life outlooks.

Get together with friends and play board games

Board games are a classic social activity that dates back to the earliest days of human civilization. They’re a great way to get out of the house and meet new people with similar interests to yours. While playing board games is a bit more passive and less active than other activities listed here, it’s a great way to spend time with friends and have fun without having to talk about work or your relationship problems.

Try going to bed earlier instead of drinking

If you’re finding yourself feeling like a night out with your friends is only going to lead to you drinking, try going to bed earlier instead. You can keep yourself busy by reading a book, watching TV shows or movies, meditating, or simply talking to a friend on the phone. If you plan your evening in advance, you won’t have to worry about feeling bored or going out to the bar or club and drinking too much.

Seek professional help at an outpatient rehab

Binge drinking isn’t a sign of weakness, but it can lead to long-term health problems as well as emotional and relationship problems. You may not need to completely abstain from drinking in order to stop binge drinking. Professional help can help you determine what level of drinking is right for you. You may need to abstain completely or find a balance between drinking and not drinking. A treatment program can help you examine the emotional triggers for your binge drinking. It can also help you develop new coping skills that don’t include alcohol.

Is moderation or abstinence the answer?

You may be wondering if you should completely abstain from alcohol or if moderation is the best approach. It really depends on the person. For some, moderation is the best choice. For others, abstinence is the only healthy option. If you’re binge drinking and you’re not sure if you should completely abstain or moderate, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your binge drinking?
  • Do you feel like alcohol is controlling your life?
  • Are there negative effects on your health?
  • Do you drink to escape from your problems?
  • Do you drink regularly with friends?
  • Have you had alcohol poisoning due to high alcohol consumption before?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to abstain from alcohol or moderate your drinking, even if you do not have an alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder

How to Stop Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Binge drinking is a common problem that can lead to addiction if it’s not addressed. Binge drinkers can overcome this problem by keeping a journal, limiting their time with friends who binge drink, joining support groups, finding new hobbies to reduce boredom, seeking professional help at an outpatient rehab, and understanding that moderation or abstinence is the best approach. Few people recover overnight, but with proper care it is possible to kick the habit and live a fun and fulfilling life without engaging in problem drinking. For long term care, sober livings are often the best options for young people.

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Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

RADT
David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen
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LMFT
Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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