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Binge drinking is the act of excessive episodic drinking to the point where one gets a hangover over the period of a few days. It can be described as the rapid consumption of alcohol within a limited time frame with the intention of getting drunk.
The NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.4 Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent.
- Alcohol is the most abused recreational drug in the United States.
- Since it is so popular, people do not think of it as a drug and they do not even realize that it is dangerous for their health.
- It is the third leading preventable cause of death in the US.
- Binge drinking will have adverse effects on your health.
- Reducing the amount of alcohol taken or quitting will give you a healthier lifestyle.
According to the CDC:
- One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.
- Is more common among young adults aged 18–34 years
- People aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often—an average of five to six times a month.
- It is more common among those with household incomes of $75,000 or more
- Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
- Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.
- The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women.
- They are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.
- About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
- More than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
- It is most common among younger adults aged 18–34 years, but more than half of the total binge drinks are consumed by those aged 35 and older.
- Is twice as common among men than among women. Four in five total binge drinks are consumed by men.
The NIAAA describes binge drinking as the event that leads to a Blood Alcohol Concentration count of 0.08% or even higher.
People consider binge drinking to be subjective since according to their argument is dependent on;
- The alcohol capacity of a person
- A person drinking habits
- Degree of intoxication varies depending on country and culture
There is a limit that an adult should not drink beyond. Heavy drinking is often called at risk drinking if ones consumption exceeds the recommended daily limits. For men the limit is 4 standard drink in one day and 24 standard drinks in a week, for women the daily limit is 3 standard drinks and 7 standard drinks a week. The threshold for heavy drinking is higher when compared to binge drinking. High risk drinking is alcohol abuse but most high-risk drinkers do not show signs of alcohol dependency, but with time some could develop dependence over time. High risk drinking is influenced mostly by culture and environment unlike alcoholism that is affected by family history.
How to Stop
Since binge drinking does not necessarily mean dependency many people might not see a problem with their drinking. Some signs that they are binge drinking include blacking out and not sticking to your limits. Stopping binge drinking all by yourself can be a daunting task but I can be done. The first step is to recognize that you have a problem and you need to do something about it.
There are several strategies that you can use to make sure you stop, below are a few pointers to help you quit;
The first thing to do is to identify your triggers. Triggers generally refer to things that lead to start your binge drinking session. One common trigger for most people is peer pressure. It could be directly by having people encourage you to drink or could be indirectly where you are at a party and everyone is drinking. For some people depression and boredom can be a trigger. After identifying it becomes easier to avoid them.
Most binge drinkers do so because they lack knowledge. Being aware of the drink sizes will help you accurately keep track of how many drinks you have and you can know if you are going overboard. If you decide to reduce your intake and not quit you need to be careful when drinking in public since drinks are not poured in standard quantities.
It is important that you understand you do not have to take alcoholic beverages. There are so many non-alcoholic beverages other than water. You can drink soda or “virgin” versions of your favorite cocktails. Keeping tasty drink choices will help you quit.