Binge drinking: Males consuming 5 or more drinks in one sitting and females consuming 4 or more.
Binge drinking may start (somewhat) innocently enough, but when left unchecked, continued binge drinking leads to increased risk of dependency and alcoholism.
In addition to addiction, the risk of developing alcohol-related health problems are heightened for binge drinkers. Consuming high levels of alcohol can result in memory problems, car accidents, alcohol poisoning and premature death, just to name a few consequences.
Binge Drinking and Addiction
Alcohol dependency affects people in different ways. For instance, a business executive may not drink during the day but drink too much at happy hour. Another person parties on the weekends until they practically fall over drunk. Yet another person may sip on wine all the time but never become drunk.
In all of these examples, there is a high risk for alcohol dependency and addiction. Because there are so many different pictures of alcoholism, people can have a hard time identifying themselves as an alcoholic.
Normal Consequences of Drinking Too Much
A normal, healthy body is made to reject too much alcohol by vomiting and hangovers.
Some of the negative physical effects of overindulging in alcohol are as follows:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
Consequences of Drinking Too Much for a Binge Drinker
The normal consequences of getting drunk do not impact the binge drinker the same way. How do you know whether you are getting to the point of being an at-risk binge drinker?
Some signs you are developing a habit of binge drinking:
- It becomes easier to drink more.
- You experience less negative physical consequences of drinking.
- You often drink too much.
- Others have mentioned your drinking habits and expressed concern.
- You crave more and more alcohol.
- You don’t know when to quit and don’t know your personal limits.
- Anxiety and/or depression manifests.
Continued binge drinking and alcohol dependency often result in negative consequences socially, emotionally and physically.
Alcohol tolerance: After drinking over a period of time, consuming the same amount of alcohol has a lesser effect. The individual often drinks escalating amounts of alcohol to achieve the previous state of intoxication.
Excessive drinking can lead the body to build a tolerance against alcohol. The person using alcohol then craves more and more and eventually experiences fewer physical side effects of drinking. As a result, it becomes easier to drink in larger quantities.
Withdrawal: A set of symptoms that can occur due to a reduction in alcohol intake after excessive prolonged use.
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, such as hangover and insomnia, can appear anywhere from six hours after stopping drinking up to three days later. One tell of alcohol dependency is withdrawal symptoms that are eased by drinking.
Some of the milder symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome are:
- Nausea and vomiting
Heavy alcohol use causes chemical changes in the brain. The brain must adjust the nervous system to work faster to keep the body going while on a depressant drug. Once the person dependent on alcohol stops using it, the brain tries to readjust to keep the body functioning. Depending on how heavy the use was, this can cause severe reactions.
Some of the more serious symptoms of withdrawing from alcohol are:
- Racing heart
- High blood pressure
- Heavy sweating
Alcohol addiction: The use of and compulsive physiological need for the habit-forming substance alcohol.
Problem drinking that has become severe is termed alcohol use disorder (sometimes referred to as AUD). Compulsive alcohol use despite negative life consequences, loss of control over how much alcohol one consumes, and a poor emotional state characterize addiction to alcohol.
Binge drinking and alcoholism cause significant health and safety risks.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking and alcoholism are increasing across the nation. The number of people drinking is on an upward trend, and those who drink are generally binging or drinking more heavily.
Alcohol is perhaps the most widely available drug on the market and the most socially acceptable drug. But drinking too much can lead to addiction and numerous health problems. Binge drinking has been associated with these health issues:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Cognitive impairment
- Alcohol poisoning
Due to the addictive nature of alcohol, completely stopping it on your own could be dangerous, depending on the severity of abuse. If you are asking yourself, “How can I stop binge drinking?” or feeling, “I want to stop binge drinking,” you are already taking the first step toward binge drinking treatment.
So How Can I Stop Binge Drinking?
Elevate Addiction Services has been helping people with various forms of addiction for nearly 20 years. We have the experienced staff to assist with drinking issues, both before full-blown addiction and after.
It is the wise person who seeks help before these problems take over his or her life. The less severe the issue, the easier the restoration of normalcy and good health. We at Elevate champion all efforts for self-improvement, the sooner the better.
Elevate strives to help people find the root causes of why they have gravitated toward binge drinking. We aim to help our clients find a love for life without the need for drugs or alcohol. If you are concerned about your drinking habits, reach out to us and talk to a counselor now.