Having a drink from time to time is generally fairly safe for most people. However, when you start having several drinks in a short period of time, or continue drinking for a prolonged period of time, this is when problems begin to arise. It is important to remain in control and be able to moderate your own drinking, knowing when to stop. Sometimes people get carried away and end up binge drinking. Not only is this hazardous to your health, it can also increase your risk of developing alcoholism.
What is Binge Drinking?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men – in about 2 hours.” It only takes about 10 minutes for you to start feeling the effects of alcohol. The more you drink, the more impaired you become. There are limits to how quickly your body can process alcohol, and there is nothing you can do to speed that up.
How does Binge Drinking Affect the Body?
Binge drinking can take a serious toll on your body, especially if you frequently have more than four or five drinks in a sitting. Some effects include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Liver damage
- Weakened immune system
- Higher risk for certain types of cancer
- Poor balance/coordination
- Memory or concentration problems
- Reduced inhibitions
There is also the chance that you will develop alcohol poisoning. This occurs when you drink too much too quickly. It can cause your breathing to slow, your body temperature to drop, and you may experience seizures or pass out. Some people also become pale and begin vomiting. This can be very dangerous because too much alcohol impairs your gag reflex and you may choke on your own vomit and not be able to breathe. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal if not properly treated.
Increased Risk of Unintentional Injury
Another consequence of binge drinking is that you can become more susceptible to injury. Because your balance is off and you are not thinking clearly, you put yourself and others in danger. Drunk and drugged driving is a serious problem. You may cause an accident and endanger yourself as well as passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. While intoxicated you may trip and fall more easily or take greater risks than you would while sober. There is also a greater risk of drowning if you are intoxicated, even if you are a good swimmer.
Binge drinking can also cause problems in your personal and professional life. It can put a strain on your finances as well as your relationships. Trying to recover from a night of heavy drinking can impact your productivity at work and lead to increased absences. Also, when you’re intoxicated, you may become more aggressive and say or do things you don’t really mean. These issues can have a ripple effect across multiple aspects of your life. In time they can cause more and more problems and become harder to resolve. You may not even remember all of the events of the evening until someone tells you about them later.
Are you a Binge Drinker?
You don’t have to drink every day to be a binge drinker. Drinkaware sums up the signs to look for in fairly simple and easily understood terms:
- You tend to drink quickly
- You regularly drink more than the lower risk guidelines in a single session
- You sometimes drink to get drunk
- It’s hard to stop drinking once you have started
If any of these signs describe you, you may have a drinking problem and could benefit from treatment at a luxury rehab facility. Early intervention can allow you to get the help you need before the situation becomes more serious. Change is possible and you can overcome alcoholism.
Binge drinking is a serious problem. The NIAAA reports that in 2013, “24.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.” Furthermore, alcohol use disorders affected 16.6 million adults (people ages 18 or older) in 2013.
Fortunately there is help available. Through a drug and alcohol treatment program, you can embrace healthier habits and deal with challenging situations in a more constructive manner. You’ll develop strategies and tools for avoiding temptation and getting involved in more positive activities. In addition, you’ll create a network of support to keep you accountable and moving in the right direction with your recovery.
Chapters Capistrano offers a wide range of treatment approaches including 12-step and non 12-step options. You can figure out what works best for your needs and start turning your life around. Contact Chapters Capistrano at 949-371-4198 to learn more about our customized treatment programs and how you begin the path to long-term recovery.