Have you ever wondered if you’re drinking too much, too often? Many people find themselves in the same situation, unsure when social drinking or a glass of wine after work has escalated into harmful behavior.
If you think you might be struggling with binge drinking, this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss the definition of binge drinking and give you a guide for what is considered binge drinking. Plus, we’ll list signs of binge drinking so you can identify it early in yourself or a friend.
Binge drinking, defined
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is a pattern of drinking which brings the body’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level above .08 percent or higher.
Thus, binge drinking is characterized by two things:
- Drinking a high volume of alcohol
- Drinking it in a short amount of time
Binge drinking is harmful to your body and your mental health. It can be dangerous and result in legal issues. Moreover, it can lead to an alcohol addiction. While not everyone who binge drinks has a serious alcohol use disorder, repeatedly over drinking can be a strong risk factor for alcohol addiction.
How common is binge drinking?
Sadly, binge drinking is very common. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six adults struggles with binge drinking and at least one in four adults binge drinks weekly. This is a prevalent problem, so it’s important to assess your own drinking habits.
What is considered binge drinking?
Thankfully, there is an easy way to tell if your drinking qualifies as binge drinking. For an average male adult, five or more drinks within a two hour span is considered binge drinking. For the average woman, four or more drinks within the same window counts as binge drinking.
This calculation is based on blood alcohol content, and there are many factors that can change a person’s tolerance of alcohol. Your body may react differently to alcohol based on weight, size, frequency of alcohol consumption, genetic factors, medications taken and so on.
As a general rule of thumb when you’re wondering what is considered binge drinking, four drinks or more enters into dangerous territory.
Signs of binge drinking
There are some telltale signs that you or a loved one is struggling with binge drinking. Look out for the following behaviors.
Planning to get drunk
While occasionally people become tipsy unintentionally, it’s rare that someone becomes excessively inebriated without aiming to do so. If you find yourself planning ahead to get drunk (buying large amounts of alcohol, planning to sleep in your car), it’s a sign that over drinking has too strong of a pull on you.
Your personality changes because of your drinking
As heavy drinking becomes a pattern, it’s likely to take a toll on your personality. In addition to hangovers, tiredness and irritability are common results of continuously drinking too much. In fact, these sensations can play into your desire to continue drinking and eventually lead to a dependence on alcohol.
You forgo important commitments
Whether this happens intentionally or by accident, a common sign of binge drinking is disregarding responsibilities. If you’re missing family commitments, work duties, personal errands, meetups with friends and more due to binge drinking episodes, it’s time to make a change.
People have expressed concern
It’s rare that binge drinking goes unnoticed. If you have loved ones who care about you enough to point out binging behaviors, or have asked you to cut back on drinking, it’s a sure sign that it’s time for help.
You’ve tried to stop
The consequences of binge drinking can be severe, and often people who drink heavily will make attempts to cut back. If you’ve tried to drink less or cut out drinking all together and failed, you’re not alone. Many people need professional intervention to change their alcohol habits.
The consequences have started to pile up
There are many health issues that will show up over time if you engage in repeated heavy drinking episodes. According to the American Addictions Centers, injuries from accidents, weakened immune system, alcohol poisoning, liver disease and cardiovascular issues are potential results of binging.
You feel embarrassed
Many times we only know we’re drinking too much when we assess our behavior once we’re sober. Remembering our behavior or being told stories from the past night can bring on plenty of guilt and embarrassment. Don’t let these feelings contribute to a cycle of poor mental health and binging— get help now.
If you or someone you know is affected by binge drinking, the pattern isn’t permanent. Full healing is possible. Take care of yourself or your loved one by getting connected with treatment. At Silvermist Recovery, you can make recovery your own. Alcohol-specific, holistic treatment is available to give you the best shot at success in sobriety. Don’t let alcohol ruin your life another day. Call now.