Binge drinking is consuming large quantities of alcohol within a short span of time, heavy drinking for men is drinking five or more drinks and for women it is four or more drinks in two hours. The intention to binge drink is to feel the pleasure of intoxication.
Why do people binge drink and how they get into the habit?
It is visibly evident that binge drinking is common among people of all ages, what is the reason behind this behavior?
The most common desire behind binge drinking is to have fun:
People binge drink to have fun, to just enjoy a relaxed weekend and celebrate their hard work. Individuals who are experiencing high levels of stress drink in large amounts to feel relaxed and tide away from pressure. The place where binge drinking is enormously high is in parties and here the main focal point of enjoyment is liquor.
To socialize and feel more confident:
People with high levels of social anxiety find it a challenge to socialize and they hence drink to feel less anxious. For people who are socially anxious drinking is considered to be a good way to fit in among an excited large crowd.
To feel dominant:
This holds good for people who hold high positions in work place and who want to show-off their elite image. Such individuals participate in binge drinking competitions to showcase their high authority image.
To let go of their issues:
One of the primary reasons to binge drink is to let go of daily stress, and this enables people to drink continuously within a short span of time. The affected person is involved in drinking to a vast degree of not knowing or being aware of the consequences of alcohol abuse. They use alcohol as a coping mechanism.
To fight peer pressure or the challenge of being accepted:
Drinking is perceived to be cool among high school and university crowds, and the concept of drinking is strong emphasized. It is forced among people to drink to fit in and people among friends circle who binge drink are forced into this crowd to a larger degree.
First time drinkers want the taste of alcohol from just being curious about what it is all about. This is particularly true among teenagers and university students after hearing about another person’s experience.
The other reasons to binge drink are genetics and family history of alcohol abuse.
How to determine if there is a drinking problem?
If you are concerned that either you or close friends and family having drinking problem then watch out for these signs.
The person tends to feel huge levels of guilt or shame about drinking
Tendency to hide binge drinking behavior or lie to friends
Friends and family who are overly concerned about the affected person’s binge drinking problem.
The urge to drink to feel relaxed
Drink in greater quantities than the normal amount.
Behavioral symptoms of binge drinking:
Binge drinking obstructs normal day to day functions and relationships, and this happens when the person drinks to an extent of not being aware of children’s responsibility and performing badly in school and work place.
Being under the influence of alcohol in unsafe situations, here the person is intoxicated while driving and he or she also mixes prescription medication with drinks.
He/she continues to drink even while being aware of the fact that it is causing a strain on relationships and day to day life.
A majority of people drink to relieve stress and they indulge in alcohol after encountering stressful moments with family, colleagues or boss.
Major symptoms of alcohol dependence:
Alcohol use disorder also referred to as alcoholism is when a person is habituated to uncontrolled drinking. He/she uses increased alcohol consumption as a medium to fight life’s issues and also becomes dependent on it even when it hinders relationships and daily routine performance.
When a person is extremely pre-occupied with alcohol and uses it as a primary medium to beat reality, then he/she has alcohol dependence problem.
The first major warning sign of alcoholism is tolerance:
He/she is tolerant to excessive alcohol consumption that goes beyond the legal moderate drinking limit. This is a regular habit and the person consumers many glasses or bottles and develops tolerance and the same habit continues regularly.
Withdrawal is the second major warning sigh of alcohol dependence:
When a person becomes alcohol dependent he/she is unable to control the urge to reduce the amount of drink. The affected person will drink to let go of withdrawal symptoms, when excess alcohol is consumed the body is accustomed to the increased level and if he/she tries to cut down withdrawal symptoms emerge.
Watch out for these withdrawal and physical symptoms:
Headache, reduced appetite intake, fatigue, irritability, depression, lack of sleep, nausea and vomiting, sweating, shivers, anxiety or impulsivity. The other more severe symptoms are agitation, fever, seizure and confusion. Long term alcohol abuse damages liver and causes problems with brain, nervous system, stomach, heart. The other major medical complications are osteoporosis, cancer, sexual problems and high blood pressure.
How do people develop alcohol dependence?
Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a kind of addiction and there are two variations physical and psychological.
Physical addiction towards alcoholism stems from the need to drink to get high. Increased amount of drinking results in chemical changes in brain and it causes the person to get high and experience pleasurable feeling. This kind of sensation compels a person to get into binge drinking and the body develops tolerance towards pleasurable high.
Psychological addiction stems from dealing with stress, and this is not related to chemical changes in the brain. The intention behind depending on alcohol is to ease emotional strain, and the intensity of addiction causes a person to develop guilt, despair and shame.
Helping a person with binge drinking:
A person with an alcohol dependence problem will deny that they ever have an issue because of the constant feel of guilt and shame. It is however possible to get over binge drinking from medication and psychotherapy. It is achievable to fight drinking through self-help methods as well.
The power to fight binge drinking happens gradually, and it is first important to recognize the fact that you have a tendency to binge drink and try to remove the feeling of shame and realize you are not alone.
Once you feel comfortable coming to terms with binge drinking, slowly develop thought process about yourself and family and the enjoyable and productive life you want to lead.
Once you have reduced consumption of alcohol write down your rewards and celebrate it with the activities you enjoy.
Whenever you experience alcohol cravings think about how successful you were in reducing intake and it will compel you to get into recovery and over time beat the addiction.