binge drinking

How Does Binge Drinking Affect The Body?

Binge drinking occurs when excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed in a short time span. Binge drinking can be dangerous, especially when done regularly. Individuals who drink excessively are highly prone to incidents involving alcohol poisoning and accidents.  

For men, binge drinking occurs when at least five drinks are consumed within the span of two hours. For women, binge drinking occurs when four drinks or more are consumed within the same time span. 

The differences between binge drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder 

It’s important to note that binge drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), while similar, are not the same. Binge drinking involves excessive amounts of alcohol in a relatively short time span whereas AUD involves an individual losing their ability to control their drinking habits.

With that being said, binge drinking is typically the precursor to AUD. It’s very easy for someone accustomed to binge drinking to develop Alcohol Use Disorder which comes with its own set of health-related complications.

If you struggle with binge drinking, you should seek help as quickly as you can before it develops into something serious. Reach out to us today, so we can connect you with a rehab centre well suited to help you overcome your habit. Catching the problem early before it becomes a full-blown addiction is our top priority, and we’ll do everything within our power to get you the help you need.

Statistics about binge drinking

To further illustrate the need to get early treatment, as many as 80% of individuals who engage in binge drinking have yet to develop a dependency on alcohol. Sadly, more people die from binge drinking than they do from long term alcohol abuse.

This is a tragic statistic, especially when you consider that binge drinkers are more likely to get into a fatal accident or succumb to alcohol poisoning. This is opposed to someone eventually succumbing to health-related issues due to long term alcohol abuse.  

Why do people binge drink?

In many social groups, drinking is often viewed as a way to “fit in.” Take college culture, for example, where adolescents who have just reached adulthood drink excessively to fit in and have fun.

Binge drinking is also widely encouraged in movies and other forms of media and is often imitated in real life as a result. Ultimately, the acceptance of drinking by society makes it easier for people to make the decision to binge drink.

Peer pressure also plays a significant role in binge drinking. People who desire to fit in at a particular event or function, such as a college party or ladies’ night at the local pub, may feel pressured to drink excessively to fit in with the surrounding atmosphere.

Side effects of binge drinking

Binge drinking can lead to various behavioural and health-related issues. Some side effects are temporary and are minor in nature whereas other issues are long-term and can lead to permanent damage.

Temporary side effects can include:

  • Shakiness
  • Dehydration
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Poor decision making

One of the most dangerous temporary side effects you can experience from binge drinking is delayed reaction time. This is the primary reason driving while intoxicated is dangerous. The inebriated driver often doesn’t have the mental reaction speed to operate a motor vehicle properly.

More serious side effects can include:

  • Cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart problems

Side effects will affect everyone differently, and the severity of your side effects is often determined by the amount of alcohol you consume. Additional factors that may affect side effects include gender, weight, how quickly you drink, and medical history.

Signs of alcohol abuse

If you know what to look for you can identify signs that someone has been binge drinking. These include:

Excessive alcohol use during the weekends or holidays

Binge drinking typically isn’t a behaviour that takes place every day. Binge drinking is more likely to occur during “special occasions,” such as during holidays or the weekends. Many binge drinkers use these special days to justify their drinking even if they recognise they have a problem.

Early signs of losing control over a drinking habit

Binge drinkers will often begin the night by making statements such as “just one more drink” yet end up consuming three or four more (if not more). Binge drinkers will use this as a way of rationalising their drinking, not as a way to limit it.

Ignoring the concerns of others or becoming defensive

A binge drinker is highly likely to become defensive or outright ignore the concerns of others when confronted about their drinking habits. Aggression is also a common reaction.

Craving alcohol

Binge drinkers will often express a craving for alcohol and may even romanticise alcohol use. They’ll also express the need to drink to handle everyday situations regularly.

The choice to drink rather than taking care of personal responsibilities

Binge drinkers may call off work or skip class to go drinking alone or with friends. Binge drinkers will often ignore important aspects of their lives in favour of drinking.

Treatment

Binge drinking in itself is not considered to be a disorder. However, it’s only one very short step away from Alcohol Use Disorder. Treatment for someone who binges should be focused on prevention.

One option is to hold an intervention for the individual. This can just include family and friends, or you could also have a specialist present to provide additional insight and guidance.

However, if you see that the individual has already developed a dependency on alcohol than it’s vital you have them seek out an alcohol rehab centre. Combating dependency early can mean the difference between a lifetime of health issues, or living a clean, productive life.

Be mindful the decision to change destructive behaviours is entirely up to the individual unless they’re mandated by the law or their workplace to stop. Seeking treatment is the best way you can help someone who struggles with binge drinking.

If you or someone you know binge drinks regularly, contact us today so we can connect you with professional help before your drinking problem spirals out of control.

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