The Truth about Binge Drinking
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking refers to the practice of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. It’s defined as any drinking that brings the blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or higher. On average this translates to about 4 or more drinks in 2 hours for women and 5 or more drinks in 2 hours for men. Although a common practice, particularly among the 18-34 year old demographic, binge drinking can be dangerous, even deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately one in six adults in the U.S. binge drinks. A quarter of these individuals binge drink on a weekly basis. Although binge drinking is not necessarily indicative of an alcohol use disorder, it can pave a path to alcoholism.
Consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time is dangerous. The practice of binge drinking can cause alcohol blood poisoning, which requires emergency medical care. That’s not the only risk, however. Binge drinking can cause acute health problems and trigger lasting health conditions.
Binge drinking is a form of alcohol misuse. Although someone who binges may not be an alcoholic, they are at increased risk of becoming one. They may already have become dependent on alcohol both physically and mentally. Whether you’re a problem drinker who binge drinks or you suspect you may have an addiction to alcohol, you should have your condition evaluated.
Muse Treatment specializes in alcohol and drug use disorders. Most people who have an addiction don’t expect to overdose or drink so much that they blackout and put their life at risk, and yet, it happens–every day. An average of six people will die from alcohol poisoning in the U.S. every day. By educating yourself about the dangers of binge drinking and seeking help at an addiction rehab center like Muse, you can safeguard your health and future.
Risks of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is associated with serious health risks, which we’ll discuss in detail in just a bit. But in addition to those health risks, binge drinking is associated with high-risk behaviors that can lead to injury, property damage, and legal trouble. Some of the most common risks involved with binge drinking include:
- Driving under the influence
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Slip and fall injuries
- Violence / assault
- Engaging in high-risk sex (increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies)
- Disruptions to school / work / family obligations
People who binge drink are responsible for their drinking, but they may find that they lose control of their actions when under the influence of excessive amounts of alcohol. People often lose their inhibitions when drinking, which can lead to reckless behaviors.
Understanding Problem Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder
Sometimes people use terms like problem drinking, alcoholism, and alcohol use disorder interchangeably. That’s understandable as characteristics associated with each overlap. However, these terms are different. Being a problem drinker doesn’t indicate that one has a physical and mental dependence on alcohol. A person with an alcohol use disorder (also referred to as alcoholism) is physically and mentally dependent on alcohol. A person who binges drinks might do so periodically. A person with an alcohol use disorder drinks more frequently whether they binge drink or not.
A person who has an alcohol use disorder has difficulty controlling their alcohol use on a habitual basis. They tend to be preoccupied with drinking and experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink within a relatively short period of time. Someone who is an alcoholic often drinks every day. Their dependence on alcohol is also associated with increased health risks, including organ failure. Moreover, a person who is an alcoholic cannot stop drinking even when they try.
Health Risks of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is associated with many serious health risks. Binge drinking effects can be divided into short-term effects and long-term effects. Short-term effects can include alcohol poisoning. When a person consumes more alcohol than the body can process, they can become poisoned by the alcohol. This can cause acute damage to organs and lead to death.
Short-Term Health Effects of Binge Drinking
But binge drinking can have long-lasting effects on the body. While acute alcohol poisoning might not result in death, it could cause permanent damage to organs. Short-term effects of binge drinking can affect:
The kidneys can produce more urine because alcohol is a diuretic. The increase in urine can lead to dehydration, low levels of sodium, and low levels of other vital minerals.
Binge drinking can result in heart irregularities, high blood pressure, or even sudden heart failure.
Binge drinking can cause hypoglycemia, a dangerous level of low blood sugar.
Alcohol can reduce the body’s gag reflex, which can lead to vomit or other substances entering the lungs.
Long-Term Health Effects of Binge Drinking
There are also long-term effects that can occur as a result of binge drinking. These are:
Liver diseases can involve cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.
Reduced Cardiovascular Health
Alcoholism is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Alcoholism can trigger conditions such as anemia.
Alcoholism can cause intestinal problems that prevent the body from absorbing nutrients.
Long-term use of alcohol can cause balance problems or reduce cognitive function.
Mental Health Conditions
Alcoholism is associated with an increased risk for mental illness, including depression and anxiety.
Although cutting back on alcohol consumption may reduce some of the heightened risks, continuing to drink means that the risks will still exist.
Getting Help for Binge Drinking
Even if you don’t think you’re suffering from full-blown alcohol addiction, you should be concerned about curtailing binge drinking. The risks are considerable. Muse Treatment offers help for people who engage in problem drinking. Binge drinking is a dangerous and unhealthy habit that can easily lead to addiction and a wide range of other health conditions, some potentially deadly.
Too often, binge drinking is a social activity, which is why it remains a big problem among young adults. Spending time with others who binge drink can ‘normalize’ an activity that should not be normalized. If you find that you can’t control your binge drinking, even when you say you’ll only have a drink or two but exceed that amount substantially. Or, if you set out to drink so much in order to get “wasted,” you’re putting your health at risk.
Therapists at Muse Treatment can help you moderate your drinking. If your problem is confined to binge drinking but not alcohol use disorder, you may be able to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume to a safe level. We help clients find strategies for curbing their drinking and developing good lifestyle habits so that their drinking never becomes a full-blown addiction.
On the other hand, if your binge drinking is a symptom of a larger problem like an alcohol use disorder, it’s even more imperative to get help managing the condition. In these cases, abstinence is the way to manage the addiction. Our addiction specialists can guide you through the recovery process, helping you to overcome your alcohol dependence.
Benefits of Going to Alcohol Rehab
Going to alcohol rehab is an investment in your health and future. It should not be something that one puts off. The sooner that you enter a high-quality rehab like Muse Treatment, the sooner you can get your health back in shape and your life in order. Some of the benefits you can expect when you enroll in a Muse Treatment program for alcohol use disorder include:
At a rehab like Muse, you don’t have to overcome your dependence on alcohol alone. We’ve created a supportive environment. Our therapists are knowledgeable and caring. Clients participate in group counseling because peer support can be so crucial to the recovery process.
Structure and Boundaries
During their rehab stay, clients can rely on a healthy structure as a foundation for building their recovery and new healthy habits. Rehab’s boundaries help reduce the risk of temptation while clients begin to learn how to manage their cravings to use alcohol.
Our programs feature a strong educational component. Clients benefit when they understand their disease and how it affects them. They learn how certain strategies can help them manage their condition. We also educate them about relapse so they’re prepared if the signs of relapse arise.
Of course, the key to successful treatment programs is the treatment itself. Muse offers medically sanctioned alcohol addiction treatment programs complemented by holistic therapies that have the ability to enhance recovery.
Alcohol Rehab at Muse Treatment Center in Los Angeles
If you’re searching for effective alcohol addiction treatment in Los Angeles or nearby communities, choose Muse Treatment. We offer customized treatment programs designed to help people from all walks of life. Alcoholism affects young and old, men and women, rich and poor. It is a serious health condition that can rob a person of their health and everything important to their lives. Although many people find the idea of putting an end to their drinking to be overwhelming, they are often surprised at how treatment can help them end their dependence on alcohol.
If you abuse alcohol by binge drinking or suspect that you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder, contact Muse Treatment at (800) 426-1818 to find out more about our inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs. We look forward to helping you transform your life for the better.