Binge drinking can be a particularly hazardous pattern of excessive alcohol consumption. But does binge drinking, even if it only occurs occasionally, imply that someone has an alcohol use disorder, or that they need treatment at an alcohol rehab in Prescott, AZ?
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is a drinking pattern that brings your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) up to 0.08% or higher, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).1 For men, this is roughly five drinks within two hours — for women, it’s just four drinks in two hours.
Many binge drinkers follow a similar pattern. They abstain or moderate their drinking during the week, then engage in binge alcohol use on the weekend. This pattern of alcohol use can quickly become problematic, especially if it is maintained for a long period.
Rapidly drinking large quantities of alcohol can increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, as well as put you at risk of injury, blackout, or alcohol poisoning. Even if you fall below the dietary guidelines of low-risk drinking for the week, binge drinking can increase your likelihood of developing alcohol-related consequences.
Prevalence of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is widely prevalent in the United States. Drinking alcohol is a part of our culture, and popular media and advertisements can glamorize binge drinking to the degree that makes it even more likely to occur.
In 2021, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 23.3% of adults in the U.S. engaged in binge alcohol use in the last month — nearly one in four adults.2 The rates of binge drinking were even higher for people between the ages of 18-25 at 29.2%.
Health Effects of Binge Drinking
The health effects of binge drinking extend far beyond a hangover the next day. Binge drinking has been associated with a host of negative health outcomes, such as:
- Unintentional injury
- Increased rates of violence, including sexual assault, homicide, and suicide
- A higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease
- Learning and memory problems
- Increased risk for several types of cancer, including mouth, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon cancer
But perhaps the greatest health risk of binge drinking is the increased likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder. People who become addicted to alcohol can have difficulty cutting down or stopping drinking on their own, face severe physical withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop, and suffer serious consequences to their mental health and social lives as well.
Do Binge Drinkers Need Treatment?
So, do all people who binge drink need treatment? Or is it possible to binge drink regularly and not develop an alcohol use disorder? While it’s clear that there’s no safe form of binge drinking, disorders and health risks are not the same.
Binge drinking can be a warning sign of a developing alcohol problem — but not necessarily a cause for a diagnosis in itself. Professionals use rigorous diagnostic tools to determine whether someone has an alcohol use disorder, but asking yourself these simple questions can be a good place to start:
- Do you often drink more than you intended to or for longer than you anticipated?
- Have you tried cutting down or quitting alcohol use before and been unsuccessful?
- Do you spend a lot of time drinking or thinking about drinking?
- Are you often recovering from the effects of alcohol?
- Have your drinking behaviors interfered with your relationships, job, or family responsibilities?
- Do you have unwanted alcohol cravings?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shakes or nausea, when you stop drinking?
- Have you given up on hobbies or activities that were important to you because of alcohol use?
- Have you noticed any consequences of your drinking behaviors but continued to drink any way?
Answering yes to any of these questions may signify that your alcohol use has become a problem. Most people with an alcohol use disorder will find it difficult to quit on their own. And in severe cases, people can face life-threatening consequences if they suddenly stop drinking without appropriate medical intervention.
How an Alcohol Rehab in Prescott, AZ, Can Help
Alcohol treatment offers several tools to help people who struggle with alcohol use overcome their problems and achieve lasting recovery. Alcohol treatment is a multi-stage process that involves first breaking free from the physical effects of alcohol dependence and then learning healthy coping mechanisms and skills to help sustain sobriety.
Alcohol use disorders can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if left untreated, such as:
- Profuse sweating
Attending a medical detox can provide targeted medical interventions+ to treat these symptoms and help people achieve sobriety safely.
Following detox, targeted assistance can help people avoid future relapse, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and build healthier lives in sobriety. Alcohol addiction treatment uses several different evidence-based therapies and techniques to achieve this goal.
Start Alcohol Rehab in Prescott, AZ, with Wolf Creek Recovery
Wolf Creek Recovery can help you overcome an alcohol use disorder and build a better life in recovery. Call our team today to learn more about our different treatment options and start your path to sobriety today.
Sources: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking  https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt39441/NSDUHDetailedTabs2021/NSDUHDetailedTabs2021/NSDUHDetTabsSect2pe2021.htm
Finding purpose in pain is what Jonathon does best. He is a strong advocate for those suffering from substance use disorders. As a person in recovery, Jonathon knows how important it is to receive empathy and compassion. He recognizes that each person comes from a different set of circumstances and deserves to be valued and respected.
With a fresh perspective and compassionate attitude, Jonathon works closely with clients to help them let go of the past and know when to take necessary risks. The recovery process is ongoing, which means people need to move forward while applying the skills learned in treatment. Jonathon is a great motivator when it comes time for this!
Jonathon also places emphasis on the family unit and how it can make or break the recovery experience. Individuals with active, supportive families have far better outcomes. Jonathon realizes that it’s impossible to move mountains overnight, but with the right support team and positive attitude, anything is possible.