Binge drinking is often depicted as just a normal part of life. Playing drinking games such as beer pong is normalized as part of the college experience. Even weddings aren’t immune to being an event where people are pressured to drink as much as they can. Drinking in excess is never good for your health, and it can lead to plenty of embarrassing moments. For the most part, a single incident of going slightly over your limit won’t do too much harm. Yet, there often comes a point where you may start drinking too much on normal occasions. The answer to the question of what is binge drinking requires taking a look at what addiction professionals view as going over the limit along with your personal views.
As a general rule, binge drinking is defined as taking in enough alcohol that your blood-alcohol level goes up to or past the legal limit for driving. For men, this usually means consuming five or more drinks within two hours. For women, the number of drinks is four. However, your body weight, age and metabolism can all impact how much you can drink before you hit this limit. You’ll also want to understand that what is defined as a single alcoholic drink changes according to the beverage. For instance, one standard 12 ounce beer, five ounces of wine or a 1.5 fluid ounce shot of whiskey would all be considered a typical single drink. With craft beers and other types of alcoholic beverage often containing more than the standard level of alcohol, you might even be able to classify one beverage as being more than one serving.
Drinking too much on frequent occasions has dramatic consequences for your body. Your liver is responsible for filtering out toxins from alcohol before they hit your other organs, yet it can only work so fast. You place yourself at risk for liver damage every time you over drink, and this can lead to serious problems such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Binge drinkers are also at risk for alcohol poisoning, brain damage and heart problems. Drinking to the point of intoxication can also cause you to engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving and unprotect sexual activity. If you worry that you tend to drink too much, then it is important to take an alcohol assessment to help you figure out if you need help with ending the cycle of binge drinking.
When and How Do You Get Help for Binge Drinking?
So, you might be wondering right now if hitting several parties during a month where you drank too much classifies you as an alcoholic. Or, you may be worried that you are actually drinking too much several times a week. Believe it or not, you can have an alcohol problem even if you only binge drink on the weekends. Here are a few signs that your binge drinking may be causing issues in your life that require professional help to address.
- drinking more than you plan on regular occasions
- drinking more frequently
- feeling the need to defend or hide how much you drink
- having blackouts after you drink
- engaging in risky or embarrassing behavior while drinking
- feeling nauseous, weak or shaky when you don’t drink for awhile
There are several ways to avoid binge drinking. First, don’t fall for the hype. You don’t have to drink excessively at social occasions to have fun. Being sober actually helps you to enjoy the moment and remember the special things that happen later. Second, you can choose to drink more slowly. Try alternating alcohol with water or soda at special events. Finally, you may need to make special plans such as asking someone to let you know when you are going to far.
If these things don’t work, then you may need professional help with managing an alcohol use disorder. Many people cannot drink just one or two alcoholic beverages without having more. Alcohol addiction treatment centers can provide you with an assessment to see if your drinking has crossed the line into a pattern of behavior that you need help with stopping. If so, then you can benefit from attending a treatment program that helps you learn how to get and stay sober.
Are you worried that you are drinking too much too often? If so, we’ve got a way to find out for sure if your binge drinking is out of control. Reach out to us today at 833-610-1174 to get in touch with a treatment center that can give you an alcohol assessment.