The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the drinking of five or more drinks on an occasion for men and four or more drinks on occasion for women as excessive alcohol use, otherwise known as binge drinking. In the US alone, binge drinking is held to be responsible for more than 140,000 deaths on average each year. This staggering figure is why people really need to know how to stop binge drinking.
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How Prevalent is Binge Drinking?
The irony of binge drinking or excessive alcohol use is that most people who engage in it are not even dependent on alcohol. In most scenarios, they simply don’t when to quit. Documented cases of binge drinking typically involve people who will continue to drink for as long as they are conscious enough to hold a glass or bottle to their lips and swallow the contents. It is not uncommon for these binge drinkers to pass out or vomit from the excess alcohol use, only to continue drinking once more when they are able to pick up a glass or bottle of alcohol.
This is why the figures related to excessive alcohol use are highly alarming:
- One in at least six American adults engages in bring drinking
- At least 25% of people who are known to engage in binge drinking do so every week
- Statistics show that binge drinking is most common in adults between the ages of 18 to 34
- People who engage in binge drinking are at least 70% more likely to end up in the emergency room due to alcohol-related accidents
- The CDC reveals that on a daily basis, there are at least 385 excessive alcohol use-related deaths, and this number is expected to rise
- At least 3,500 people under the age of 21 die from excessive alcohol use-related incidents
- Based on current life expectancies in the US, excessive alcohol use has stolen over 2.7 million years collectively
- On average, at least 28 Americans die each day from drunk driving
- The pandemic has significantly increased the figures of excessive alcohol use-related deaths, causing at least 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease and 18,700 cases of liver failure due to excessive alcohol use
- At least 35% of people who engage in binge drinking are expected to develop alcoholic hepatitis
- At least 10% of people who engage in binge drinking are expected to develop cirrhosis
- Suicide accounts for at least 22% of acute excessive alcohol use-related deaths
What are the Most Common Causes of Binge Drinking?
Alcohol has always been a part of most social events in a person’s life, and there are easily dozens of reasons for people to not only get into simple drinking, but engage in binge drinking, during their lifetime. Despite all of these reasons, however, binge drinking is actually preventable, and this fact just adds to the tragedy of all the troubles brought on by excessive alcohol use.
In recent years, the most common causes of excessive alcohol use were related to conditions brought on by the pandemic. These include:
As the COVID-19 virus spread throughout the world, so did the fear of infection and possible death. The constant reports over news outlets about how fast the infection was spreading coupled with the mounting global death toll related to it were more than enough to cause widespread fear, paranoia, anxiety, and panic among the global population. As alcohol has always been the go-to stress reliever for most, many have taken to consuming much more of it than they typically do, just to deal with the stress that was going around alongside the virus.
Even before the pandemic, however, alcohol was already the most popular solution that people turned to whenever they felt any kind of stress. The pandemic just gave most people a new excuse to take out their fears and sorrows on the bottle. We here at Northern Illinois offer dual diagnosis treatment program for cases like this.
The forced isolation brought on by the pandemic has proven that most people could not handle not going out and being with other people, despite the claims by many that they would not mind the peace and quiet that comes with being alone for an extended period of time. Many people who ran out of things to do while in isolation and did not want to get further stressed by watching popular media chose to try to sleep for the better part of the day. The fear and stress that blanketed the world, however, made sleeping and resting a near impossibility for many.
This is why many turned to drinking copious amounts of alcohol just to pass the time, and also help them get some sleep by way of passing out from drinking too much. Most who engaged in drinking this way barely even noticed that they were already into excessive alcohol use, as the sensation of getting inebriated proved to be much more inviting than being bored because of the isolation.
Much like food deliveries, groceries, and medication, alcohol also proved to be among the most sought-after products from stores for delivery during the pandemic. Even in areas where delivery was not an option, as there were some stores that offered purchasers a pickup option. This could be because some people believe alcohol is a stimulant when it is actually a depressant.
The accessibility and ease with which alcohol could be acquired have always made it the addictive substance of choice for many, and the pandemic only made this fact all the more evident.
How Can Someone Quit Binge Drinking?
It should be noted that binge drinking in itself is not necessarily a sign of an al alcohol use disorder, and this means there is still a high probability that there is a way to curb it. If left unchecked, however, binge drinking will almost certainly lead to alcoholism and mental disorder as the person’s system begins to form a heavy dependence on the consumption of alcohol on a regular basis.
There are ways, however, to curb binge drinking, or at least mitigate the highly damaging effects of this practice, and all that is needed is to follow these steps:
Drinking on an empty stomach is a sure way to feel all the effects of alcohol. An empty stomach also guarantees more space to drink alcohol, which is why it is always a good idea to eat a good-sized meal before taking any alcoholic drinks. Having food in the stomach helps in ensuring that alcohol is absorbed and gets into the bloodstream much more slowly than it would be on an empty stomach.
In most cases, people who go binge drinking do so because they are able to. They have more than enough money to buy a lot of alcohol, and they end up buying and consuming more than they really should. For people who mostly spend on their own binge drinking, an effective way around it is to ensure that there is only enough money to purchase a small amount of alcohol. Others even improve on this practice by gradually lessening the money normally allotted for alcohol, and in doing so, also gradually lessen their intake of alcohol as well.
There is always something else to do during social events other than simply drinking the entire time. These gatherings are perfect opportunities for catching up with close friends and enjoying the company of the people at the event. Getting caught up in engaging conversation or other activities are great ways of minimizing the chances of devoting one’s time at a social to just drinking.
Many have the excuse that they drank too much because there was simply too much alcohol where they were. If this is the case, then it is also possible to be where there is least likely to be alcohol, such as gyms or public swimming areas. The local running track, basketball court, or tennis court should also be places where one is least likely to find alcohol in, since these places are often kept safe and alcohol-free due to policies and regulations.
This is not to say that people should start identifying which people in their lives are bad influences, although this would certainly be a good idea for the sake of personal safety. In a person’s circle of friends and associates, there is always a chance that there are people who do not spend most of their time drinking, or when they do get the chance, dive straight into the drink before anything else. Being in the company of people who drink less could also influence a person’s attitude toward binge drinking.
There are still people who stick to a reason for binge drinking, and this reason, or reasons, could actually be triggers that push them to drink so much. By learning to identify these triggers, it could be possible to avoid being exposed to them, or at the very least, share these triggers when seeking professional help so that the triggers could be fully addressed and resolved. This is taught in an alcohol addiction rehab center in northern Illinois through different programs such as outpatient rehab, intensive outpatient rehab, or partial hospitalization program.
Being mindful does not always result in an instant resolution to the issue, but it is certainly a good start. Being mindful of the things done even in moments where one tends to be mindless, such as when one is binge drinking, shows that there is still a measure of control present. Regardless of how small a measure this might be, it is still a spark that could become the guiding light to recovery from binge drinking.
There is Help to be Found for Binge Drinking at Northern Illinois Recovery
Dealing with any kind of habit, be it for prescription medications or alcohol, is never a simple thing. Despite what most people think of the matter, it is almost always a complicated issue. We here at Northern Illinois understand this more than anyone else because we make it our business to help people work through these issues. It will not be easy, and it will definitely involve a lot of work, but the best part of it is that it truly leads to recovery. Talk to us now.