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Binge Drinking Alcohol Signs, Symptoms, and Effects
1 in 4 American adults who drink consume at least eight glasses on one drinking occasion.
If you are looking for possible options for addressing binge drinking problems for yourself or your loved ones, look no further. This article touches on what binge drinking is, the effects associated with it, its signs and symptoms, and ways to prevent binge drinking.
What is Binge Drinking?
In binge drinking, people consume excessive amounts of alcohol in a short time frame. Binge drinking is alcohol consumption that causes your blood-alcohol content to reach the legal limit for driving. Different bodies have different alcohol absorption rates depending on sex, body size, and age. Generally, binge drinking takes about four alcoholic drinks consumed by women, and five drinks by men, in less than 2 hours. Drinking alcohol is typical for many adults; however, 1 in 4 Americans binge drink at least once a year.
Adults under 35 years old are more prone to binge drink, whereas men are twice more prevalent than women, though we are still seeing this trend in the older generation. Statistics show that people who make $75,000+ and highly educated people are most likely to binge drink. Another survey shows that 1 in 6 US adults binge drink twice a month. These people state to have consumed up to seven drinks on these occasions.
Signs and Symptoms of Binge Drinking
Different people manifest different signs and symptoms associated with binge drinking. However, you may have a problem if alcohol consumption lends a hand by troubling your school, home, work, or social life. Other more common signs of binge drinking include:
You have started drinking more than you had initially planned.
Drinking more often or early in the day.
Taking part in harmful or dangerous activities, especially after you have just finished drinking.
Having memory gaps or blackouts after a drinking episode.
Quitting on activities you once enjoyed so that you can create more time to drink.
Feelings of defensiveness about your drinking habits.
Inability to stop or slow down your drinking.
Needing to drink more alcohol to have the same effect.
Feelings of nausea, shakiness, or weakness when you stop drinking for a while.
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Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.
Effects of Binge Drinking
Researchers blame binge drinking for more than half of 88,000+ annual alcohol-related deaths. Drinking alcohol has specific risks; however, crossing the threshold for binge drinking causes acute harm such as overdoses, blackouts, etc. Furthermore, heavy-dose drinking poses other risk factors to other people around you, from alcohol suicide, poisoning, car crashes, and violence.
Binge drinking has more severe effects such as:
Interfere with your heart rate leading to problems such as strokes and heart attacks.
Lead to memory problems in young adults.
It places you at risk of being a victim of sexual violence.
Make you participate in risky sexual behaviors that usually lead to STDs- Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The short-term effects of binge drinking include miscarriages, shorter attention span, sleepiness, hostility, dehydration, low blood pressure, depression, or slower breathing. At the same time, the long-term effects include liver problems, weight gain, social isolation, weakened immune systems, certain types of cancer, brain volume loss in young people, trouble sleeping, or mental health problems.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
AUD is an over-dependence on alcohol that deters you from conducting daily activities without consuming alcohol. AUD is a chronic disease with its victim unable to control alcohol consumption.
Now, 9 out of 10 binge drinkers do not depend on alcohol for daily activities; however, scientists and doctors think binge drinkers are at a high risk of developing Alcohol Use Disorder. The associated risks continue to rise for people heavily drinking in their teens. Teenage binge drinkers are three times more likely to develop an AUD.
Seek Medical Advice
There are several options for those who binge drink and are looking for ways to stop. These options may help them regain control of their alcohol consumption habits or even prevent them altogether. Some possibilities include seeking professional help or finding replacement activities.
Take time and talk to a doctor about your drinking habits. After a doctor listens to you, he may evaluate your practices, recommend talking to a therapist or suggest another solution that seems fit. Though the medical assistant offers help and support, you also have a role in your recovery journey.
Talk to loved ones and trusted people when you fear you are about to land into binge drinking situations. Loved ones, especially family members and friends, are an excellent support system to help stay afloat amidst the storms. Their effort, help, and support give you the strength you need to continue fighting.
Like any other addiction, binge drinking takes away time from your daily schedule and leads to addiction related consequences such as loneliness, feelings of isolation, or depression. Finding something meaningful to do at this very juncture helps your mind move from thoughts of binge drinking. However, for this exercise to work, you must find something you love doing; try getting out into nature, link up with friends, and talk it out.
If binge drinking has landed you into more trouble than once, assisted in developing a chronic illness, or taken away time you should have spent with your loved ones, it's time to think about quitting alcohol. It's a lifelong decision and one that is difficult yet attainable. You may develop withdrawal symptoms within the first few weeks of quitting alcohol, but it would be worth it. At the end of it all, you will have achieved your goal of leading an alcohol-free life.
Some preventive measures for binge drinking include:
Make a plan; drink with the people you trust, and get home safely.
Alternate nonalcoholic drinks with alcoholic ones; water is usually the best.
Ensure you eat some food when drinking.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink at one given time. Experts recommend consuming two drinks for men and one for women.
The Bottom Line
Remember that you may not respond to therapy or fail to use the above binge-drinking preventive tips, but hey, you are trying. Start by giving an honest GP about your drinking habits and the problems it causes you. Confide in your support group, talk to trusted people and eat healthy foods.
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