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What You Should Know About Binge Drinking

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking occurs when a man has five or more alcoholic beverages in a short period of time, or when a woman has four or more alcoholic beverages in a short period of time. Binge drinking statistics show that more than 38 million Americans have a problem with binge drinking each year. The result is a wide variety of health issues.

The Effects of Binge Drinking

“…more than 38 million Americans have a problem with binge drinking each year.”
The effects of binge drinking vary depending on the age of the individual and how often the person drinks. Typically, binge drinking affects young people and women the most. For young people, their brains are not fully developed, so binge drinking can cause long-term damage to the way the brain works. Women do not have to drink as much in order to feel the same effects of alcohol that men do, but men tend to binge drink more than women. Young men in particular are vulnerable to binge drinking; according to one source, 45 percent of men between the ages of 20 to 29 participate in some form of binge drinking. Despite this statistic, the effects of alcohol tend to have greater risks for women than for men.

Some of the short-term side effects of binge drinking include:

  • Hangovers
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of coordination
  • Shakiness
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Behavioral problems
  • Reckless behavior
  • Loss of income due to time off from work
  • Inability to perform well in school or during activities

Alcohol can make you promiscuous, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies and STDs. The individual becomes intoxicated and may not be aware of what is going on or whom they are with. Alcohol can affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle. When a person gets behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, it can result in car accidents and even death.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs

The first step in any binge drinking treatment program is admitting that you have a problem and need help. For those who are not alcoholics, you may be able to cut back on your drinking on your own. If you are not an alcoholic, know the things that trigger your binge drinking and try to avoid them. For example, if you always binge during parties or at bars, try to stay away from those places. If you choose to go to these places, set limits on yourself and stick to it. When you get your drink, be sure to drink slowly and avoid gulping your drink down. Order your drink in a small glass, and be sure you know what you are drinking. Several strong drinks contain sweeteners that do not taste like strong alcohol. Be sure to eat something before you go, as this will help you metabolize the alcohol slower. You will also drink less on a full stomach. Stay busy while you are drinking. Socialize, dance or play games while you drink to help take away from the act of drinking.

If you are an alcoholic or experience any symptoms of alcohol addiction, you may benefit from binge drinking treatment in a treatment facility.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Alcohol tolerance; it takes more alcohol for you to feel the effects you once did
  • Withdrawal symptoms between drinks
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Agitations
  • Drinking more often
  • The inability to quit
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Obsessing over thoughts of alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink in spite of problems
  • Denial

outpatient treatment facilityThe first step in any treatment regime is admitting you need help. Inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment facilities can help you with rehabilitation. Both inpatient and outpatient programs offer individual and group therapy. Therapy helps you identify your alcohol problem and how the problem began. You will discover what triggers the abuse and how to focus your time and efforts on new hobbies and interests. The programs usually also offer a detox program to help you overcome the initial stages of withdrawal. Detox can usually take up to a week.

Once you address your alcohol addiction, you will be better equipped to avoid binge drinking. A 12-step program increases your chances of overcoming addiction. Your physician or treatment center can give you more information on self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, in your area that offer a 12-step program.

If you or someone you love needs information on binge drinking and addiction treatment, you can call us at . All calls are always free and confidential.


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The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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