What Is Binge Drinking?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes binge drinking as:
“A pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent — or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter — or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern of alcohol misuse corresponds to consuming 4 or more drinks (female), or 5 or more drinks (male) in about 2 hours.”
But this definition doesn’t include the reasons someone binge drinks, or the harm caused by binge drinking. People binge drink for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps peer pressure or social anxiety. Maybe someone is susceptible to alcohol abuse. Maybe problems with binge drinking run in the family.
Binge drinking is never a good idea because of the physiological health risks associated with it (we’ll discuss those later). But excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to psychological issues like dependency and addiction.
“Alcohol dependence can take from a few years to several decades to develop. For some people who are particularly vulnerable, it can happen within months,” says Medical News Today. “Over time, regular alcohol consumption can disrupt the balance of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.”
That’s something our team knows all about. Since we opened our treatment center in California, the number of people who visit us because of alcohol addiction has increased. We welcome people from all walks of life. Some are young, some are older; all of them want our help.
Many people might binge drink because it feels good, or at least it does until the hangover kicks in the next morning. That’s because alcohol is a psychoactive drug that triggers the brain’s neurotransmitters and affects the central nervous system. It often provides a relaxing or euphoric feeling. Alcohol can also make it easier to communicate with others in social situations.
However, like all psychoactive drugs, alcohol is susceptible to abuse. Someone who consumes too much alcohol, even if they only ‘binge’ once a week, can soon develop a dependency on this substance. When someone becomes dependent on alcohol, addiction can follow. The alcohol user then has two options:
- Continue binge drinking and risk their health.
- Or seek professional help from a team of specialists.
When someone chooses the latter, they learn the tools and techniques to curb their alcohol consumption habits and lead a healthier, happier life. No more hangovers. No more regrets.
A new life of recovery.
While some other treatment centers might take a generalized approach to alcohol abuse, we have programs that cater to those who binge drink. Our specialists welcome those who want to manage their alcohol consumption habits or quit this substance for good, with various therapies that reduce the risk of relapse.
If you have a problem with binge drinking or know someone who excessively consumes alcohol, Windward Way Recovery can help. Call (855) 491-7694 and get a 15-minute consultation with one of our admissions counselors today. We look forward to hearing from you.
Harm Caused By Binge Drinking
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) exists on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe. Binge drinkers anywhere on this spectrum might need help to manage their alcohol intake or quitting the substance for good.
There’s a misconception that binge drinkers differ from others who abuse alcohol. Some people think they won’t develop an addiction to this substance if they only drink once a week or month.
Binge drinking can be just as dangerous as consuming alcohol every day. Binge drinkers overload their bodies with alcohol, abstain from the drug, and then repeat this process. This behavior can cause their bodies to go into withdrawal, increasing the risk of an overdose in the future.
“AUD is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences,” says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism.”
Short-Term Harm Caused By Binge Drinking
Here are some of the short-term effects of binge drinking:
- Heart problems. Binge drinking increases blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, which can cause instant heart failure. There are lots of cases of people who have died after a night of excessive alcohol consumption.
- Low blood sugar. Excessive alcohol use might cause low blood sugar levels, which can have a dangerous impact on the pancreas.
- Dehydration. Even though binge drinking involves consuming lots of liquid, alcohol has a diuretic effect, causing the kidneys to produce pure urine.
- Risk-taking behavior. When people consume lots of alcohol, they are more likely to take part in risky behavior. This behavior might include unsafe sex, leading to a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Long-Term Harm Caused By Binge Drinking
Here are some of the long-term effects of binge drinking:
- Binge drinking, over time, can reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium properly, affecting bone formation and increasing the chances of osteoporosis.
- Nutrition problems. Alcohol makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food and can lead to digestive issues. Malnutrition is one common side effect of long-term alcohol abuse.
- Anemia/suppressed immune system. Excessive drinking can cause anemia and a suppressed immune system, leading to other health risks.
- Stroke. Binge drinking can increase the possibility of stroke.
- Dementia. Binge drinking over time can also increase the possibility of dementia.
- Mental health. Binge drinking for long periods can intensify mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression.
Binge drinking can also lead to other unhealthy alcohol consumption patterns. What starts as five or six drinks on a Friday night might, eventually, develop into a daytime drinking habit, especially if the alcohol user is susceptible to alcohol abuse. As someone’s alcohol dependency or addiction worsens, they might experience these problems:
- A breakdown in social relationships when the person bases their day-to-day activities and schedule around alcohol.
- Financial problems when the person spends their money on alcohol and alcohol-related activities.
- A lack of focus or drive.
How Windward Way Recovery Helps
Windward Way Recovery helps alcohol users and their loved ones learn about the harm caused by binge drinking. We customize treatment programs based on someone’s unique experiences and lifestyle to increase their chances of recovery success. These programs might include:
- Outpatient programs, where binge drinkers can manage their alcohol consumption habits and maintain existing family or work commitments.
- A stay at our California treatment center, which provides a welcoming and private environment for rest, relaxation, and recovery.
- Group therapy, where guests discuss their alcohol habits with other binge drinkers.
- Individual therapy, where guests discuss their habits with counselors, therapists, support workers, and other specialists.
- Family-based therapy, where guests and their loved ones resolve issues with our qualified specialists.
- Art therapy.
- Medication-assisted therapy.
- Nutrition management.
- Ongoing support.
- Sober living.
Here are some other benefits of working with Windward Way Recovery to treat alcohol abuse:
- We welcome adults of all ages to our treatment center.
- We address any underlying issues that might cause someone to abuse alcohol. These issues include bipolar, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and borderline personality disorder.
- We work with all major healthcare providers in the United States, helping our guests manage treatment costs for alcohol abuse. You can check your insurance here.
What People Say About Windward Way Recovery
Here’s what some of our previous patients say about our drug and alcohol treatment solutions:
- “The therapists and clinical staff were great. The staff at the house were great as well. I had my favorites but not going to name drop. They know who they are. Overall, a pretty good experience. I would recommend to anyone looking for help.” — Jamie W.
- “Cardinal is a great place for addiction recovery. The staff here truly care about each individual. The daily classroom sessions are very informative. Case managers and therapists are here to help you through the process of recovery, but the individual has to be wanting it to succeed in sobriety. Getting the opportunity to go to outside AA and NA meetings is a huge plus along with the sober activities that are planned for the weekends. I personally feel Cardinal taught me great tools to use in the next chapter of my life.” — John G.
- “This was the first rehab facility I’ve ever been too and honestly I couldn’t be happier with my experience! The staff takes care of you like you’re their own. I’ve built a bond so strong that it’s like we are family. I’m so grateful for them and wish I could stay longer. The house we were living in felt like home. The techs we had made sure we were comfortable at all times. Let’s not forget they were also wonderful cooks! Within the last 30 days, I became me again.” — Tysslie M.
- “The staff at Windward Way Recovery was incredible! I can’t begin to explain exactly how much I got out of this program. It was informative and interesting, and the staff made it fun. Thank you, Windward Way Recovery staff. Especially my house manager Christina. I would Highlyhighlymend this program to anyone serious about getting sober today!” — Sally P.
- “It was great staying here, and all of the staff were amazing. I feel so much better. Thankful to Windward Way Recovery.” — Carolyn T.
- “This place saved my life. I was going down a bad road with my alcohol use and was arrested. I made the decision to go into treatment. They picked me up and brought me down the next day. The staff is amazing and really care about everyone here. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of Windward Way Recovery.” — Erin R.
Learn more about the harm caused by binge drinking when you contact one of our admissions counselors at Windward Way Recovery. We can help you choose the right treatment plan so you can start on your road to recovery. Send us a message or call (855) 491-7694 now for a no-obligation 15-minute assessment.