What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking happens when a person drinks a lot in a short span of time. This drinking behavior raises the alcohol levels in the blood up to 0.08 g/dL. Specifically, this happens for women having 4 drinks and men 5 drinks within 2 hours.
Who Binge Drinks?
This drinking behavior is extremely rampant in most developing countries. Let’s have a look at statistical reports for those who have engaged in binge drinking in the United States for 2018.
- Around 43.8% of the total population in the U.S. are engaged in binge drinking.
o 24.4% are ages 18 to 44
o 14.3% are ages 45 to 64
o 5.1% are ages 65 and older
- In terms of gender, males are more prone to binge drinking. Around 22.1% of the total population are males while only 12.2% are female drinkers.
- In terms of geographical setting, most binge drinkers are living in the suburbs (10.5%) followed by urban (9.5%) and the least are living in rural areas (9.1%).
- In terms of race or ethnicity, the top three binge drinkers reported are the following: Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (19.6%), Hispanic and multiracial (18.7%), and White (17.8%).
- In terms of education level, the top three binge drinkers are the following:
o College students: 16.6%
o College graduates: 16.5%
o High School Graduates: 15.5%
- In terms of income levels, most binge drinkers (20.5% of the population) are those earning around $75,000 or more. This is then followed by people earning within $50,000 to $74,999 (17.9%).
What Are Some Reasons For Binge Drinking?
Drinking alcoholic beverages can be seen in many communities in the world today. Their numbers are dramatically growing and it can be attributed to several factors.
Here are some of the few reasons for binge drinking:
- To Forget Problems
These problems can be related to family, finances, friends, relationships, school, or at work. This is the most common reason why people are moved to drink. They think it can help them ease and forget the problem as they drown themselves in alcohol. While alcohol can momentarily knock a person out, it will not totally erase the problem.
- For Fun
People of all ages engage in binge drinking for recreational purposes. This often happens in parties, bars and nightclubs. Most often, in social events and parties, people forget the risk associated with excessive drinking.
- To Push Your Limits
In any social events, there are always drinking games where people compete for fun and fame. The fun and competition allow the person to forget and go beyond one’s limitations.
- To Show Independence
Most young adults and teens want to prove their independence to others and their families. They see drinking as a good way to show that they can do what they want.
Why is Binge Drinking Dangerous?
This habit is dangerous because a regular person can only process one standard drink (0.5 fluid ounce or 15 mL) per hour. Considering the fact that this manner of drinking entails a rapid increase in alcohol levels in the blood, it exposes a person to high chances of accidents such as falling or car accidents.
Moreover, habitual binge drinking leads to a higher chance of being a heavy drinker and later, to acquiring alcohol use disorder (AUD). Long-term alcohol abuse can be difficult to handle and recover from.
What are the Signs and Risks of a Binge Drinker?
Not drinking every day does not really mean you cannot be a binge drinker. Here are some of the situations or signs that could indicate you are a binge drinker:
- Doing a regular drink higher than the low-risk drinking level in a single session
- Capable of taking drinking shots quickly
- Has the tendency to drink until he gets drunk
There are several risks of being a binge drinker due to the negative effects of alcohol. Here are some of its most common consequences.
Host of Injuries
There have been many reports of motor vehicle accidents and deaths associated with this drinking habit. In 2017, approximately twenty-nine percent of vehicle accidents in the United States are all alcohol-related driving.
Some of these accidental injuries include falls, car crashes, burns, drowning and seizures. The alcohol’s effect of depressing the brain slows down one’s reflexes, senses and breathing which leads to accidents.
Alcohol Use Disorder
- This condition hinders you to focus on your responsibilities
- Let’s you lose yourself and increases the risk for alcohol-induced depression
- Alcohol withdrawal effects
Young adults and teens still have a developing brain and engaging in this drinking habit definitely has a negative impact on it. Brain development can last around 21 to 25 years of age.
What Are Some Ways To Stop Binge Drinking?
This drinking habit carries several risks and one must learn how to control or stop it. If you intend to stop this unhealthy habit, here are some simple means that might help.
Self-awareness: Recognize your Triggers
There are specific trigger situations or emotions that push a person to drink. Most often, these triggers are negative and uncomfortable emotions from stressful or sad events. Once you have recognized these triggers, plan ways of handling it in a positive manner aside from drinking. Getting a walk in the park or playing with your pet can be some of the alternatives.
You must slow down from drinking alcoholic beverages. One way of doing it is drinking non-alcoholic drinks in between shots or eating something to make a gap between shots. Another good but challenging way is to discipline yourself from only having one alcoholic drink per hour.
Start a Drinking Journal
Tallying how many drinks you had is an effective way of minimizing your alcohol intake. You can start by setting goals on how many drinks you need to have for a specific day or in a week.
Learn new things and hobbies
There are tons of other things you can do in your leisure time aside from drinking. For a start, you can either go to community services or help your church. Other options may include watching movies with friends or families, gardening or engaging in sports.
Talk to someone
Mostly, people drink because they want to forget about the pains and problems of life. In order to avoid resorting to drinking, better talk to someone, that could be your confidant, counsellors or your town priest for advice. Opening up one's problem to someone you can trust to definitely would lighten up your burden and a heavy heart.