If the title of this article grabbed your attention, chances are you suspect you or a loved one might be a “binge drinker.” But what defines binge drinking? And even if we understand what qualifies as binge drinking, does it mean you have a serious drinking problem? Does it mean you’re an alcoholic?
The definition of binge drinking is not black and white: “I drink three drinks every day, hence I meet the definition of an alcoholic,” or “I only drink on the weekends (albeit heavy binge drinking resulting in embarrassing behavior and monster hangovers), hence I do not meet the criteria of an alcoholic.” If it were only that easy.
What Constitutes Binge Drinking?
“Am I a binge drinker?” you ask. Binge drinking can have different definitions – more than 5 drinks is a 2-hour period for a man, more than 4 drinks in a two-hour period for a woman, for example – but the characteristics of all definitions are very similar:
Binge drinking invariably leads to getting heavily intoxicated or drunk. Getting drunk can affect both your short-term and long-term physical and mental health:
Short-term Effects –
If you are concerned you or a loved one may be binge drinking, you are not alone. Recent studies indicate as many as 24% of college-aged men are involved in some form of binge drinking. For young women, it can be as high at 17%. A family history of alcohol abuse, and the easy accessibility of alcohol can increase the likelihood of binge drinking.
It is important to gain control over your drinking as soon as possible to avoid long-term health and relationship damage. Alcoholics Anonymous created an environment many decades ago that destigmatized alcoholism. It remains a good place to gain information and an excellent organization to maintain recovery. But for many, an initial intensive detox and therapy – usually 4-8 weeks – is required to truly cleanse the body and begin the personal life choice changes required for long-term dominion over alcohol.
If you or a loved one need help, do your research, call treatment facilities and determine what program will be most beneficial for you. Insurance often covers the majority of treatment. Do it now and reap the benefits for a lifetime.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, or are addicted to other substances like cocaine, heroin or prescription drugs, please call Covenant Hill Treatment Center today at 888.758.9677. This is a free helpline available 24/7. Covenant Hills is one of the leading addiction treatment centers in the United States with both men’s and women’s facilities in Orange County, California and San Antonio, Texas.