Binge drinking is the consumption of a high level of alcohol within a short period of time. It’s usually viewed as a fun pastime that many like to indulge in. When we think of binge drinking, we tend to conjure up images of college students partying, binge drinking and having the time of their lives.
But the reality is there is nothing fun about binge drinking. It’s a dangerous pattern of excessive drinking. For women, binge drinking is having 4 or more drinks within two hours, for men, it’s 5 or more drinks within the same timeframe. What constitutes a drink is:
- One 12-oz. beer
- One 5-oz. a glass of wine
- One 1.5-oz. a shot of distilled spirits
Though it’s not classified as alcohol abuse or dependency, binge drinking is known to significantly increase the chances of such abuse and carries just as much risk as alcoholism. A binge drinker can develop symptoms such as coordination problems, memory loss, shakiness and poor decision making. Drinking too much too quickly may also impair judgment and lead to aggressive and even violent behavior. And these are just the short-term problems that can arise. Long-term effects can include hypertension, heart problems, long-term memory damage, depression, and brain or liver damage. The list of adversities from binge drinking can go on, and enough to convince anyone that this is not the way you want to live your life.
Are you a binge drinker?
You might not know if you are or not. So ask yourself some simple questions, like: Do you ever have more than 4 drinks a day? Do you ever forget what happened while drinking? Do others comment on how much you drink? Do you give up other things to do for the sake of drinking? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, then you might have a drinking problem.
What to do to stop
Here are a few tips and pieces of advice that have worked for others and could also work for you to stop binge drinking.
Admit: Keeping in mind that some aspects may be handled like an addiction, this means the first step that you can take today is to admit you have a drinking problem, and that it is okay to seek help from professionals, which means you have to be completely honest with yourself to begin taming your consumption.
Determine how many drinks before you start: Knowing how many drinks you plan to have will keep you on track, of course on the basis that you don’t exceed 4 drinks. Having two drinks will be good exercise for you to help you distribute your consumption.
Drink water in between: Water consumption or other nonalcoholic beverages between drinks can slow down the effects alcohol has on you. Stick to the water for a good amount of time before having another drink.
Don’t party before the party: Get rid of the alcohol in your house, which is always a trigger to start drinking before an event. Keep your drinking at the event.
Gather together for other reasons: There are a lot more things to do with your friends other than drinking. Even if drinking is part of the outing, there are ways to curb your drinking by doing other activities, such as playing pool or shooting darts. At a club, you don’t have to hit the dance floor with a drink in hand.
There’s no safe amount
There’s really no safe amount of alcohol. While there are technical definitions of binge drinking, people on certain medications can consume much less than that to be considered intoxicated. Social pressure and briefly feeling good are two of the many reasons we can find ourselves binge drinking. But you can stop it with some of the tips provided before it gets totally out of control.