What Is Binge Drinking?

binge drinking

Alcohol is so culturally acceptable and widely used that many people underestimate its potential for abuse. However, despite its somewhat innocuous reputation, alcohol is a substance that can have wide-ranging consequences on health and behavior. For instance, binge drinking has emerged as one of the most prevalent public health problems in the United States.

Understanding Binge Drinking

Some people associate specific holidays or social and professional events with alcohol, and may drink during these occasions because they believe it will help them relax, have more fun and fit in with their friends. In these cases, it helps to understand what constitutes a pattern of binge drinking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of binge drinking is any episode of alcohol use that brings your blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. Men typically reach this BAC after consuming five drinks within two hours, while women do so by having four alcoholic beverages within the same timeframe.

What Are the Consequences of Binge Drinking?

Routinely drinking to excess can have many ramifications on your life, especially if you habitually rely on alcohol as a coping mechanism.

  • Reckless behavior: Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs may cause you to make irresponsible decisions, like getting behind the wheel of a car or having unprotected sex.
  • Violence: Sexual assault and domestic abuse may result from a bout of binge drinking.
  • Blackouts: Blackouts are a form of short-term memory loss that can happen when people drink too much. These are especially dangerous because people in blackout states may act sober and alert, but their brains do not retain any recollection of the things they say and do.
  • Accidents: Having a high amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, combined with a lack of impulse control, can cause a loss of coordination, leading to slips, trips and falls. If you’ve ever experienced an accident while in a blackout state, you may have discovered unexplained cuts or bruises the next morning and struggled to piece together what happened.
  • Economic costs: According to the CDC, binge drinking costs the U.S. billions of dollars per year in terms of lost work productivity and expenses related to health care, criminal justice and auto accidents.
  • Substance use disorders: Frequent binge drinking will eventually cause your tolerance to increase, meaning you will need more alcohol to achieve your desired feeling. Once you become physically and psychologically dependent on drinking, you’ll likely experience uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit.

Addiction Treatment for Professionals

Some career-driven people who have chosen to work in high-pressure careers are more vulnerable to binge drinking, including those whose jobs bring unique stressors or have a culture of abusing alcohol and drugs. While it may be challenging for you to admit you have a problem you cannot solve by yourself, accepting help is the first step in resolving your issues and getting on the road to recovery.

At Providence Treatment, we offer customized addiction programming for professionals who are prone to engaging in unproductive coping mechanisms like binge drinking. If you regularly do irresponsible things or experience blackouts because you drink too much, we can help you. Contact us today to learn about our locations and programs.

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