Alcoholism is on the rise in the United States and has been for some time. Over the past ten years, studies have shown that excessive alcohol use has skyrocketed by almost 50%. This means that 1 in 8 Americans, or nearly 13% of the US population, currently meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder.
From weekend warriors to daily drinkers, the ways in which you consume alcohol may differ, but the dangers associated with excessive alcohol use and sustained alcohol addiction are very real.
Learning to differentiate between the various types of problematic alcohol use can be confusing because of similar triggers associated with excessive alcohol use and comparable symptoms. However, differences between binge drinking and alcoholism do exist and are important to understand.
Knowing how they differ can impact everything from a potential diagnosis to treatment methods. Keep reading to learn more about binge drinking and addiction to better identify the differences and how each can negatively impact your body and wellbeing.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six US adults binge drink about four times a month.
For men, a binge drinker consumes more than four alcoholic drinks in one day, or a total of 15 or more in one week.
For women, a binge drinker consumes more than three alcoholic drinks in one day, or a total of eight or more in one week.
One common thought as to why so many individuals fall into the category of binge-drinker is because all good intentions go out the window when excessive alcohol gets involved. What can start out as a beer with friends can easily spiral into multiple drinks over the course of one evening.
Excessive consumption can lead to poor decision patterns, legal issues (ie. DUI’s and violent altercations), negative sexual patterns (ie. STD’s and unplanned pregnancies) and serious physical issues (ie. alcohol poisoning).
For individuals who think their binge-drinking only impacts their life, they’d be wrong, as well. Binge-drinking costs the United States $191 billion in 2010, resulting from losses in workplace productivity, health care expenditures, criminal justice costs and other expenses.
Above all, the consequences of binge-drinking can significantly affect the lives of loved ones.
Alcoholism, which is the same thing as a severe alcohol use disorder, differs from binge-drinking in a number of distinct ways.
An individual struggling with a severe alcohol use disorder suffers from a genuine inability to limit their alcohol consumption. This can result in physical dependence on alcohol and continued use despite personal and professional problems.
Additionally, a severe substance use disorder is indicated by a need to continuously drink more to achieve the same effect. This type of physical tolerance can result in heart disease, neurological damage, liver cirrhosis and various types of cancer.
One final indicator of alcoholism is the manner in which the person suffering from the disease can’t think of anything else other than their next drink. This type of overwhelming addiction can result in loss of employment, failure to meet family and social obligations and criminogenic behaviors due to the substance’s devastating hold on the individual.
If one of these problematic alcohol use disorders is affecting your life, it is essential to know that there is a better way to live and a strength more powerful than your own to help you quit abusing alcohol.
Overcoming maladaptive behavioral patterns and alcohol addiction is no simple task; it requires faith, personal commitment, steadfastness toward sobriety and a willingness to surrender to something greater than yourself.
James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Everyone faces different tribulations throughout their life. Learning to display perseverance strengthens the soul and reinforces the promises Christ made to those who overcome these challenges through His guidance and grace.
Living with alcohol use disorder can let a lot of unfortunate circumstances and confusing feelings into your life. Learning how to forgo alcohol and focus your attention upward can help you make sense of all you’re experiencing and build an essential foundation of greater self-worth and hope.
At Covenant Hills, you are empowered and supported to rid your life of substance abuse and begin to
forge a healthy, sustainable sober life. Through our faith-based alcohol addiction treatment program, your whole-person health is our focus. We make it our mission to help you return to the clean,
healthy person God made you to be.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Binge Drinking. Accessed August 10, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm.
The Washington Post. One in eight American adults is an alcoholic, study says. Accessed August 10, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/11/study-one-in-eight-american-adults-are-alcoholics/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2fa51122f72f.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Questions Alcoholism. Accessed August 10, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#alcoholismAbuse.