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?
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
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?
How Much Alcohol Causes Alcohol Poisoning?
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
How to Prevent Alcohol Poisoning
How is Alcohol Poisoning Treated?
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?
How is alcohol abuse treated?
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
Go for a run
Learn an instrument
Take up a hobby you’re passionate about
Go to a yoga or dance class
Get together with friends and play board games
Try going to bed earlier instead of drinking
Seek professional help at an outpatient rehab
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?
How to Stop Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Binge drinking is a prevalent issue that can quickly spiral out of control, leading to serious consequences. However, with the right approach, it is possible to overcome this problem. Binge drinkers can take several steps towards recovery, such as journaling, limiting their social circle to non-binge drinkers, joining support groups, finding new hobbies, and seeking professional help at an outpatient rehab. It’s important to understand that recovery is a process and requires patience, commitment, and support. Sober living in West LA can provide an effective long-term solution for young people struggling with binge drinking and addiction.