Do you have a problem with alcohol?
If you drink more than 4-5 drinks within two hours, you engaging in what’s known as binge drinking. Young people often deny that they have a problem with alcohol. However, binge drinking regularly can quickly turn into a problem.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at binge drinking, the dangerous consequences, and how to quit binge drinking.
How to Quit Binge Drinking
If you find yourself drinking a lot of alcoholic drinks in a short period of time regularly, you may notice a change in your tolerance to alcohol and overall behavior toward it. Before you know it, you may find yourself drinking earlier, more often, and while you’re alone.
These are just a few of the signs that an addiction may be developing and you need to take action quickly. Whether you need professional alcohol addiction treatment or just a few tips to help you get started, you’ll find a few helpful strategies below.
Here’s how to quit binge drinking.
What “Binge Drinking” Means
When it comes to alcohol, bingeing is most consistently measured by the blood alcohol content level that is reached within a short period of time. Reaching a level of .08 g/dl is the legal definition of intoxication in most states. Consuming enough alcohol to reach this level of intoxication within a couple of hours means the person is on a binge.
Using the measure of blood alcohol content (BAC) as a gauge for binge drinking means that imbibing in some different forms of alcohol can put a person within that zone more quickly than others. Age, weight, and sex all play a role in how quickly the drinks will leave the system, as well. When it comes to numbers of drinks, having two or more drinks, per hour, constitutes a binge.
Consequences of Binge Drinking
One of the most severe – and immediate – physical consequences of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning. With alcohol poisoning, the amount of ethanol in the blood begins to interfere with basic brain function. The messages that the brain sends to the body in order to keep it alive – such as breathing, temperature control, and heart rate – become fuddled. A person with alcohol poisoning may present with confusion; vomiting; seizures; blue skin; or unconsciousness. The signs require immediate medical attention.
Other effects of binge drinking may take longer to notice. Over time, the effects of regular, excessive, use of alcohol can impact your vital organs. The heart; lungs; kidneys; and pancreas can all succumb to the negative effects of attempting to process the substance. Frequent binge drinkers can end up suffering from liver disease; heart attacks; and even some forms of cancer.
Binge drinking also means that more alcohol is quickly reaching the brain, thereby contributing to a lack of sound judgment. This impaired judgment can lead to a person making harmful – and even deadly – decisions. Nearly 30% of all vehicle accidents occur as the result of alcohol, with nearly 30 of those involved dying each day. The risk of engaging in unsafe – and sometimes unwanted – sexual activity is increased. Being intoxicated with alcohol can also contribute to a bad decision to go ahead and engage in other forms of drug use and abuse, leading to addiction or overdose.
Ways to Quit Binge Drinking
Young people are faced with a lot of temptation to binge drink. College students are notorious for holding dorm parties or get-togethers at the local clubs. Sporting events and tailgating parties often come equipped with coolers stocked full of beer. Date nights often come with the expectation of sharing a few drinks. If you are a young person who is wanting to get away from this unhealthy behavior, the following are some suggestions for methods to employ.
Strategy #1: BYO Non-alcoholic Beverage
Before going to that next event where you know alcohol will be running freely, make a stop at the store to purchase your own, non-alcoholic beverages.
This will ensure you have your own supply of beverages available. You may want to consider letting your closest friends know about your strategy and ask them for their support. This will provide you the backup you need to stand your ground should anyone challenge your goal. In many cases, friends may think it’s funny and try to get you to crack … you must not give in to this social pressure.
If your friends fail to support you, you may want to consider finding different friends to bear the responsibility of supporting you on your journey.
Strategy #2: Addiction Treatment
If you’re honest with yourself and believe you may not be able to quit binge drinking, you may need to consider the idea of speaking with a professional. Professionals who specialize in addiction treatment will guide you along the journey toward overcoming addiction.
The Paradigm Young Adult Program specializes in helping young adults (18-26 years old) with this exact problem. We provide an individualized plan, incorporating a variety of different methods in order to help you achieve your goal.
Strategy #3: Become a Health Nut
There is a huge emphasis on healthy eating in our culture. Any health-conscious person knows that alcohol is only empty calories and excessive sugar. Decline extra drinks for the sake of your new diet guidelines.
Strategy #4: Avoid Triggering Situations
We all have certain scenarios which tempt us more than others.
Find out what your own triggers for binge drinking are, and make a conscious effort to avoid those. It may be that you abstain from going to a certain club, or hanging out with certain people. This will help support the development of a positive mindset and the overall shape of your mental health.
Strategy #5: Document Your Drinking
Taking a little notepad along with you the next time you hang out with the drinking buddies can be useful.
You can be discreet about writing down the times, types, and amount of beverages consumed over the course of the evening. Hold yourself accountable to not overdoing it.
Strategy #6: Drink More Water
If cutting out the alcohol or documenting drinks isn’t your thing, devise a system for making sure that only a small amount of alcohol is consumed each hour. Pacing yourself with an agreement to drink only one alcoholic beverage, per hour, can be supplemented with also agreeing to drink one full glass of water, in between.
Strategy #7: Suggest Being Active
Drinking tends to pepper our sedentary gatherings. It is easy to keep a drink in the hand when sitting on a tailgate or barstool. It isn’t as easy to do so when running around or holding a tennis racket. Suggest that your friends join you for gatherings which involve physical activity.
Strategy #8: Make a Pro and Con List
We sometimes do things without any consideration of whether it is truly benefiting us. Make a list of what you gain from binge drinking, and what you lose from it. Don’t forget to include both the immediate effects and the longer term. Make an informed calculation as to which option – bingeing or abstaining – produces the most benefit.
Strategy #9: Focus On Your Goals
Alcohol negatively affects your mind. On a chemical level, it impedes your brain from sending clear signals to the rest of your body, including your heart, lungs, and motor-functions. The more you drink, the easier it becomes to watch your goals fade away.
Don’t let this happen.
Keep a clear mind and focus on your goals. Keep them in sight and within reaching distance so you can actually achieve them.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking 4-5 alcoholic drinks within 2 hours in an attempt to reach a certain level of intoxication. This type of approach to drinking alcohol can quickly turn into a dangerous situation for you and may even develop into an addictive behavior that will negatively impact your health.
With that said, there are several ways to overcome this habit and quit binge drinking for good.
Now that you know how to quit binge drinking, you can explore that various strategies we’ve provided and focus on the ones that work for you.