Binge drinking is a growing problem, especially in young adults. Although an occasional session of heavy drinking is not necessarily an issue for concern, a pattern of binge drinking could mean that you are a problem drinker. People often do not recognize binge drinking as a problem because it is not a daily habit, more like an explosive burst of drinking after a mini dry spell. Frequent binge drinking, just like other forms of alcohol abuse, is associated with an increased risk of injury, chronic illness, and can lead to alcohol dependence or even death.
Below are three indicators that your binge drinking is becoming a problem.
- You have routine drinking days or events. If you find yourself down at the local sports bar every Sunday afternoon taking shots for every touchdown or you easily down a six-pack during Monday night football, you are binge drinking. Drinking more than five drinks for men or three drinks for women is excessive. If you have a regular time or place to binge drink, you may be developing a problem. Even if you only tie-one-on during vacations or holidays, it can still be extremely dangerous, resulting in alcohol poisoning or death.
- You have had a blackout. Although everyone responds to alcohol differently, binge drinkers frequently have partial or total memory loss during drinking sessions. Blacking out is not normal. Even slight loss of memory while drinking should be a sign that you need to make a change, as your mental faculties are clearly being impaired by your level of drinking. You really do not want to wake up one day to find out you called your boss and quit your job or you mooned everyone at the bar last night. Blackouts generate unintended consequences.
- Someone has expressed concern over your drinking. You may not be aware of exactly how much you have been drinking until it starts creating conflict in your relationships or at work. If your family, friends, or co-workers have hinted or flat-out told you that they are worried about how much you drink, it is a good time to cut back or consider stopping completely. Take their comments seriously. Accept responsibility for your actions and learn to be in control of yourself.
If you decide to quit or cut back on your drinking, seek help if you need support and immediate medical attention if you find you have withdrawal symptoms when you slow or stop your drinking.