It’s completely natural to go out after work and enjoy a drink with your friends at the bar. But as more drinks begin to flow, more consequences can arise. When someone drinks too much in one night or consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, they do what is known as binge drinking. If someone binge drinks regularly, they are at risk for displaying careless behaviors and developing serious physical or mental health conditions.
What It Means to “Binge Drink”
Binge drinking is a serious but preventable public health problem that affects one in every six adults in the United States. For men, “binge drinking” is defined as consuming more than five standard drinks in about two hours. For women, it’s defined as drinking more than four standard drinks in the same timeframe. Keep in mind that some drinks contain more than the standard amount – a “standard” drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Almost anyone is capable of binge drinking. However, men are much more likely to binge drink than women. The largest demographic of adults who binge drink are men under 35 years old.
Signs That Someone Is Binge Drinking
There are many ways to recognize if someone is binge drinking. Here are some tell-tale signs:
- Drinking more than planned on a night out
- Drinking alone and during the day
- Feeling defensive about drinking
- Not being able to slow down
- Giving up activities they enjoy to drink
- Taking part in dangerous activities while drinking
- Feeling shaky or weak when not drinking
- Having blackouts or gaps in memory after drinking
If you recognize any of the signs above in yourself or someone you love, then one of you may have a problem with binge drinking. Even though drinking heavily can feel fun in the moment, having too much alcohol in the system can eventually lead to a variety of complications.
15 Consequences of Binge Drinking
Even a single night of binge drinking can have an effect on the body and brain. But the more someone binge drinks, the more likely they are to experience these health consequences:
- Depression and other mental health problems
- Reduced fertility and risky sexual habits
- Decreased ability to heal from accidents
- Poor judgment and cognitive function
- Sleepiness or trouble sleeping
- Poor coordination and balance
- Lack of executive functioning
- Memory problems
- Slower breathing
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased urination
- Suppressed immune system
- Increased risk of dehydration
- Lung inflammation or infection
These health effects can impact any who binge drinks. If someone continues to binge drink despite consequences, they may experience more intense symptoms.
It is important to note that binge drinking also comes with an increased risk of unsafe sex, STDs, suicide, injuries, and violence. It can also cause alcohol poisoning, which requires immediate medical attention. Drinking alcohol of any kind while pregnant is not recommended.
How to Prevent Binge Drinking
So how can you prevent binge drinking yourself? It’s very easy to keep track of your drinking as long as you are committed to staying within your limit. Give yourself a drink limit every time you go out and bring a friend with you to help monitor how much you’re drinking. Drink alcohol slowly and drink water in between alcoholic drinks to prevent undesirable effects. Remember to eat a big meal before you go out and continue to eat regularly throughout the day.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction
If someone binge drinks regularly and is beginning to experience side effects, it may be time for them to consider enrolling in an alcohol abuse treatment program. During the program, individuals will detox from alcohol in a comfortable and drug-free environment. They will likely try a variety of treatment methods, from medications to support groups. Treatment plans will be customized for each individual based on their needs and preexisting conditions.
To learn more about binge drinking and treatment for alcohol abuse, contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists by giving us a call at 267.719.8689.