Alcohol Consumption & Binge Drinking
Alcohol affects millions of lives every day. Even a minimal amount of alcohol can have life altering consequences. Those who drink excessively in one sitting are known as binge drinkers. This act of heavy drinking can have disastrous effects on a person’s life, including leading to alcoholism, coma, or even death. If you or someone you know is suffering from an alcohol use disorder or alcoholism, seek help today.
How Much Alcohol is too Much?
A common question is, “How much alcohol can I drink?”. The most important thing to remember is that any amount of alcohol can cause negative consequences to your body. While alcohol is considered a depressant, it is also a toxin. The moment alcohol hits your lips, your internal processes are working to remove it from your body. Every person’s body is different and therefore will react differently to what they put in it. This also means that there are varying factors that may contribute to how dangerous it would be for you to drink alcohol, regardless of the amount consumed. These factors could include your age, health conditions, and if you are on any medications.
The best course of action to determine how alcohol will affect your body is to take a personalized approach. You will want to consult a medical professional to determine your threshold for alcohol. A medical professional will be aware of your prior medical history, any medications you are on, and any complications you may experience. Everyone’s threshold, as mentioned before, varies. Consult with your healthcare professional about the dangers of drinking, what it can do to your health, and your possible risk of developing an addiction. Those who have alcoholics in their family have a heightened risk of developing the disease.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is related to over-consumption of alcohol. It is when someone consumes a lot of alcohol in one sitting. While the amount of alcohol to be considered a binge drinking episode will vary from person to person, it is normally referred to as being significantly more than that person would consume in the same time-frame. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has put forth criteria in order to determine a binge drinking episode and abuse of alcohol.
This criteria includes consuming enough alcohol to raise someone’s blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08 for at least one day a month in a single sitting. The single sitting time frame has no actual set time, as it differs from person to person and especially males to females. However, the time frame is generally around a few hours.
There are signs to look for if you suspect you or someone you know may be binge drinking. Binge drinkers do not necessarily drink every day, but when they do they over-consume. This could mean that binge drinkers drink excessively on weekends or special occasions. If someone brings this up to them, they may try to justify their over-consumption by stating that they only drink for special occasions. Your loved one may also exclaim that they are going out and only plan on having a few drinks. Those who binge drink may say this, but end up experiencing a binge drinking episode instead of maintaining their proposed limit.
The Risks of Binge Drinking
Heavy drinkers are mostly described by frequent or habitual binge drinking behavior. Someone who is a heavy drinker has a heightened risk of developing an alcohol use disorder versus someone who only drinks on occasion. Alcohol use disorders are diagnosed on a case by case basis. There is no strict criteria in order to declare that someone has an alcohol use disorder without diagnosis by a healthcare professional. An alcohol use disorder will normally be determined by if someone is using alcohol to cope, how alcohol affects their daily life, and their ability to control their use.
Besides leading to an alcohol use disorder, binge drinking can also cause several emotional and physical issues. Alcohol is considered to be a depressant, which means it depresses your central nervous system. This can affect your physical and cognitive functioning. Someone who binge drinks may be involved in an accident due to being impaired. They struggle to perform well at school or work. Binge drinking also leads to an increased risk of cirrhosis, cancer, menstrual problems, and cardiovascular disorders. Besides also possibly leading to an alcoholic use disorder or alcoholism, binge drinking can also lead to a coma or even death.
Is Your Loved One an Alcoholic?
Those who are drinking heavily, perhaps binge drinking, may begin to notice that their drinking is causing significant problems in their daily lives. Alcoholism in a loved one may be difficult to spot, but there are some signs you can look for. One sign is that your loved one becomes more secretive and may be suddenly hard to get a hold of them.
You may notice your loved one is impaired and intoxicated at odd times during the day. They display signs that they are becoming emotionally unstable, such as frequent mood swings or odd emotional responses. They may begin missing certain obligations or failing to take care of responsibilities.
If you notice these signs in your loved one and are concerned, you should consider voicing your concerns with your loved one. Always keep the conversation light, positive, and free of judgment. Inform your loved one that they can always come and talk to you. If you suspect or they admit that they are suffering, inform them that to overcome their alcoholism they will need to seek proper treatment.
The Next Steps
Alcoholism can happen to anyone. The only way to overcome alcoholism is to get professional treatment. The good news is that everyone can recover from alcoholism and learn the tools they need to help manage their symptoms. It does not matter how heavy of a drinker you or your loved one is, recovery is possible. If you bring up recovery to your loved one, you may find that you are met with resistance. Denial is often a difficult stumbling block to get over when it comes to beginning the road to recovery. Do not give up on your loved one and talk to a medical professional on how to approach the matter again.
No single treatment works for everyone. The best treatment options are those that are catered to the individual and are flexible for change. The Arizona Addiction Recovery Center is home to a dedicated team of professionals that work to not only help you over your addiction, but also focus their treatment on other important aspects of your life. You and your healthcare professionals will examine how alcohol has affected your day to day life, creating an individualized plan to help you get back to a healthier you. Call today and start the road to recovery now.