Many people think of binge drinking as a problem that is overwhelmingly experienced by college students hoping to unwind on a Saturday night. While this specific type of alcohol abuse is often observed in young adults, they may not be the only ones affected by their drinking habits. Substance abuse can carry serious financial, emotional, and physical risks and consequences to all involved, including the individual who uses the substance, family and friends, and even innocent bystanders within the community. Be aware of this behavior’s signs to decide if you or a loved one may need to seek addiction treatment.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is characterized by a pattern of excessive alcohol usage in a single sitting, typically at or above the legal blood alcohol level of intoxication of 0.08. While this behavior is a form of alcohol abuse, it does not necessarily mean that an individual suffers from alcoholism. However, it is important to remember that this can be an early indicator of symptoms that may lead to alcoholism later in life.
Signs That Indicate You or a Loved One May Be Engaging in Binge Drinking
Substance abuse can look different depending on the individual, but some signs may indicate that you or a loved one is drinking excessively. Asking the following questions might help you assess your need for alcoholism treatment before a problem becomes too dangerous.
Are you exhausted after a night of drinking?
If you or your loved one is experiencing extreme exhaustion, complex mood swings, or irritability after a night of drinking, these can be indicators that the amount of alcohol you have been imbibing in a single sitting may be affecting both your body and the chemistry of your brain.
Do you exhibit embarrassing or risky behaviors while you are drinking?
Alcohol can lower a drinker’s inhibitions, which can lead to conduct that may be unusual or unexpected. Some of these behaviors may include:
- Uploading embarrassing content to social media
- Engaging in hypersexual activity
- Driving while impaired
- Causing physical or emotional violence
Is your drinking affecting your memory of events?
A “cognitive blackout” is an incident where an individual loses the ability to recall events while under the influence of a substance. This can be an indication that lasting damage is being done from binge drinking. These experiences can trigger memory conditions such as early-onset dementia as well as exacerbate mental health conditions.
It is important to remember that while one behavior from the above list may or may not be a hard fast indicator that you are experiencing an issue with binge drinking, a “yes” answer to any of these questions means that you should consider reaching out for professional treatment before the risks of your behavior turn into consequences.
Impact of Untreated Binge Drinking
The impact of untreated alcohol abuse can be substantially life-changing. These are just some of the repercussions of substance abuse in general and binge drinking in particular:
- Personal relationships may suffer.
- Work or school performance may fluctuate or decline.
- Increases in risk behavior may lead to vehicular accidents, DUI, and legal troubles.
When someone binge drinks, they also increase the possibility of physical harm, such as injury, memory problems, cirrhosis of the liver from extended alcohol consumption, cardiovascular troubles or stroke, and increased risk of developing depression, dementia, or psychosis.
The dangers of binge drinking are clear, but they can be avoided by getting the help you need before this behavior escalates into a situation that is beyond your control.
Seek Treatment for Binge Drinking at Insight into Action Therapy Today
Let’s help turn your insights into action with our 12-step outpatient substance use disorder and mental health services. Knowing the signs of binge drinking and seeking individual assistance for this urgent but healable health issue is paramount to both the binge drinker’s and the community’s safety. Contact us today at 703.935.8544 or complete our secure online form if you feel you or someone you know needs professional support and assistance with binge drinking behavior. With Insight Into Action Therapy, comprehensive community-based treatment can help you or a loved one on the path to wellness.