When it comes to substance abuse, using and abusing alcohol is by far the most socially acceptable. After all, it is ingrained in society to meet up with friends at Happy Hour or to have a drink or two after a busy workday to “take the edge off”. However, what can start off as something innocent can turn into something more serious, such as binge drinking or even alcoholism.
It’s important to be able to understand binge drinking facts. That way you can differentiate between casual drinking, binge drinking, and alcoholism. Being able to differentiate between the three is especially important if you fear that you or someone you know might be struggling with alcohol abuse. In this blog, we will take a look at some binge drinking facts and tell you all you need to know about binge drinking as well as the difference between binge drinking and alcoholism.
What Is Binge Drinking?
In order to properly identify binge drinking, it’s important to know what exactly constitutes as binge drinking. Binge drinking is the consumption of a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time, typically 2 hours or less, resulting in your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to spike.
According to binge drinking facts, binge drinking for women is four or more drinks in 2 hours or less. For men, binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in two hours or less. A drink is defined as the following:
- 12 oz of beer
- 5 oz of wine
- 1.5oz of distilled spirits
One interesting binge drinking fact is that the biggest demographic when it comes to binge drinking is adults 26 and older. This demographic accounts for around 70% of all binge drinking cases in the country.
Why Do People Binge Drink?
Despite more and more information coming out talking about just how bad drinking in excess can be for us and our bodies, people continue to do it regularly. The fact that alcohol is not only legal but also as easily obtainable as a bottle of water these days, it’s no wonder the number of people who find themselves binge drinking and drinking in excess continues to rise. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons that someone might binge drink or drink in excess.
By far the number one reason for binge drinking is the need to “take a load off”. When people have a tough day they commonly turn to alcohol as a way to relax and forget about whatever happened. People might do this by themselves at home or out at a bar with coworkers or friends. Heavy drinking will make people feel better and more relaxed in the moment.
Along the same lines as relaxing, people also tend to binge drink out of enjoyment. Let’s face it, the majority of social events and social gatherings that occur in life tend to revolve around alcohol in some way.
Parties and events usually tend to have a bar at them or drinks of some sort and one of the more popular after-work destinations is a bar or a restaurant for happy hour. With alcohol seemingly always around, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment having fun with your friends or coworkers and drink too much too fast.
For teens and young adults, rebellion is among the leading reasons for binge drinking. When children hit a certain age, usually in their teenage years, they want to be looked at as their own person and as an adult. As a result, they might turn to binge drinking as a way to fight back against social norms or even to try and prove that they should be viewed as an adult.
A popular thing to do at parties or in large groups of people where alcohol is involved is to play drinking games. While drinking games might seem fun and innocent enough, the goal in many of these games is to drink as much as possible in the least amount of time. Thus, drinking games are the poster children for binge drinking.
Are There Negative Side Effects Associated With Binge Drinking?
Over time, drinking in excess can lead to medical complications. While some of these medical complications are short-term and relatively minor, some can be long-term and possibly debilitating. Let’s take a look at some of the short-term and long-term effects of binge drinking.
Drinking too much too fast can result in some negative side effects that you will likely feel right away. Many of the short-term effects of drinking are commonly associated with getting a hangover.
Some short-term effects of binge drinking include:
- Memory loss
- Poor decision making
- Coordination problems
- Alcohol poisoning
In addition to those ailments, binge drinking can cause a person to do things that he or she would normally not do sober. Thus, such behavior can endanger the person binge drinking and the people around him or her.
Long-term, the effects of binge drinking can be even more severe. Oftentimes, these long-term health effects get overlooked because binge drinking takes place over the course of only a few hours and then gets forgotten about.
Long-term effects of binge drinking include:
- Brain damage
- Liver disease
- Heart problems
- Alcohol poisoning
- Cardiovascular problems
- Weakened immune system
Is Binge Drinking the Same As Alcoholism?
Binge drinking is not the same as alcoholism. Still, binge drinking can lead to alcohol-related issues down the line.
The line between alcoholism and binge drinking is a very fine line. Regardless, it’s important to know the difference between the two.
In order to be formally diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, the following criteria need to be met:
- Inability to stop drinking or even cut down on the amount
- Having “cravings” for alcohol
- Inability to perform basic tasks at school, home, or work as a result of alcohol
- Making significant efforts to either get alcohol or drink alcohol
- An increase in the amount of time that it takes you to recover from drinking
- Continuing to drink despite knowing that it causes problems
- Missing school, work, or other events and activities either to drink or because of drinking
- Continuing to drink even after health issues arise from drinking
- Building up a very high tolerance to alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
If you find yourself answering yes to the above list for either yourself or someone you know, chances are either you or that person is suffering from alcoholism.
What Can I Do To Stop Binge Drinking?
While the easiest way to stop binge drinking is to be more conscious of the amount of alcohol you drink at any given time, it’s not always easy or even possible to do so. For those who are unable to stop on their own, there are many different options out there, such as alcohol addiction treatment.
If you think treatment might be the best option for you, it’s important to talk to your doctor, a mental health professional, or a treatment professional to determine the best course of action.
If it is deemed that binge drinking treatment is the best option in order to get help for binge drinking, the first step is to undergo detox to rid your body of alcohol and any other harmful substances.
Due to the nature of detoxing and the way the body reacts to it, it’s important to undergo detox treatment at either a medical detox facility or a treatment facility that also offers detox services such as Grace Land Recovery. Attempting to self-detox can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.
Once detox has been completed, there are a variety of treatment options available. Some of the more popular treatment options for alcohol addiction are:
- Inpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- 12-step program
- Behavior therapies
- Alternative therapies
Want More Binge Drinking Facts?
Binge drinking can start out harmless enough. But, over time, it can lead to serious health complications and even the development of alcohol addiction. If you or someone you know is binge drinking regularly, it’s important to get help.
At Grace Land Recovery, we understand how difficult alcohol addiction can be. That’s why we offer a wide variety of treatment options that are tailormade for each patient’s individual needs. This includes those dedicated to alcohol.
Contact us today to learn more about binge drinking facts and our treatment options. Also, contact us to learn how we can get you on the road to recovery. With the right help, you can live a happy, healthy, and sober life.