California-Based Study Shows Drinking in Excess is Prevalent in All Ages
A lot of people know that drinking too much is not good for your physical or mental health. When drinking one too many becomes a common occurrence, it starts to take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Nevertheless, knowing your limits is a huge problem that persists in society. We’ve probably all seen someone at one point or another who passed out after having a bit too much. We’ve also seen people too drunk to drive yet still insist on taking the wheel. We’ve seen and heard so many instances of people drinking too much alcohol and yet they wouldn’t or couldn’t stop. For some, it started as binge drinking on the weekend and became a more serious problem. We often pinpoint this to colleges and younger crowds, but it turns out, binge drinking isn’t just a college problem.
Binge Drinking Defined
Drinking large quantities of alcohol at one time is considered binge drinking. This can be dangerous, especially if your alcohol tolerance is not very high. Five or more drinks (hard or cocktails) constitute binge drinking for a man. For women, it’s four drinks or more.
Most of the reported cases of binge drinking happen on college campuses. College students normally try out drinking one another to cope with the stress of college life. Groups in college tend to form parties and sure enough, getting blacked out drunk becomes a weekly occurrence. These events get decked with kegs and barrels of foamy brews taking center stage. Add a pinch of bravado, add a dash of peer pressure and you have a recipe for binge drinking.
Pretty soon, you’ll have one or two (or more) drunk individuals doing things they’d never even consider in a sober mindset. In doing so, they’re delighting their audience and increasing the likelihood of being left at the end of the night as the unlucky guy with a case of wishing he’d forget what happened. After the liquid courage dries up, he’s left sprawled on the floor, unconscious and taken for granted. These are the types of nights that lead to habitual binge drinking.
The problem is, binge drinking is becoming far more common outside of college communities. More and more adults are binge drinking and finding themselves consuming in excess.
Of course, there are symptoms if you’re becoming a binge drinker and by recognizing these, you can fix the problem before it’s out-of-hand. Assess yourself and find out if you’ve got these warning signs. Better yet, ask someone who goes drinking and partying with you and someone who doesn’t, this will give you an outside view on your behavior.
- You’re a big weekend drinker. You cannot wait for Friday to come. You know that it signals the end of the week and the start of partying hard through the weekend. Pushing yourself hard during weekdays and refusing all forms of alcohol is good. But drinking more than five glasses of alcohol negates your sacrifice and gets you buzzed fast, leading to unhealthy decision making.
- You overshoot your limits. Always. Drinking with friends is a good social activity. You get to unwind, you get to catch up, you get to bum around. But drinking way more than you can handle is not going to help maintain your relationships. You’ll end up losing people in your circle because you cannot stick to your limits. Do not even justify that you’re just building your alcohol tolerance. Your body knows when to stop, but you don’t want to stop.
- You act out-of-character. You know how to act when you’re sober. You act nice, you act proper. You probably stick to the rules and you stick to the acceptable norms. However, once you drink one too many beers, you begin to act like a fool. You do things you don’t do when you’re sober. You act without thinking. You act with reckless abandonment. You let yourself go, with little control over your behavior. If this sounds all too familiar, and you typically remember nothing the next day, you’ve got a huge problem on your hands.
- You pass out and don’t remember what happened. Binge drinkers reach a point of no return when they pass out. Your body can no longer tolerate the alcohol in your system and has few options, so it shuts down to protect your body. It means you’ve drunk too much and need to remove the alcohol from your system. You wake up remembering nothing, disoriented, possibly not knowing where you are. Worse, you do not remember what you did the night before. It’s only when they tell you the crazy things you did that you get a fuzzy recollection of things that happened.
- You let your work suffer. You become a slacker. You do not do your job as well as you did before. You lose interest in your occupation. You let deadlines pass, you lose your productivity. Your work suffers and yet you don’t see it. Or rather, you see it but you don’t want to work to correct it. This leads to bigger problems and with it, even bigger worries.
- Your loved ones worry about you. Your loved ones worry about your drinking frequency. They worry about you missing work and about your deteriorating health. When you notice your loved ones sneaking glances because you’ve changed, you know there’s a possibility you’ve been slamming back one too many again.
Bigger Problems Abound
If you think binge drinking is confined to frat parties and college dorms, feel free to stand corrected. Binge drinking is all around us. We just don’t care enough to realize it. We do not want to see the signs and realize that there’s a problem in our midst.
It could be your friend that exhibits the symptoms. It could be your grandfather. It could even be your parents. Binge drinking can affect anybody. The pressure of putting food on the table, of dealing with the demands of a job can be the reasons why binge drinking surfaces. Maybe it’s also because of the idea of having just one more sounds so good, until you’re ten beers deep and all control is out the window. There are so many reasons and things we have to remember about binge drinking.
Last Call for the Taps
Binge drinking is prevalent. We only fail to recognize it. The time has come to realize that it is a bigger problem than ever and it’s creeping into more varieties of people than just college campuses. Many people lose their lives because they binge drink. Many people lose their jobs because they had one too many. Many people had their families torn apart because they binge drink and didn’t know it had gotten so out of control.
Let us become more conscious that people who binge drink need professional help. They need guidance to get off the habit. They need to get their lives back on track. They need counseling, they need help. Do not turn a blind eye, binge drinking can be controlled. It can be cured.
Contact OHR at 866-303-2444 to help you start your alcohol recovery, today! Let your concern for their well-being be ours too!
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATC). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.