5 Reasons Why Teens & Adults Binge Drink
- 1. Social Reasons
- 2. Coping Mechanism
- 3. Not Alcohol Use Disorder
- 4. Brain Chemistry
- 5. Lack Of Awareness
- Alcohol Treatment
About 17% of U.S. adults binge drink about once a week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A 2019 study showed that about 24% of all U.S. citizens binge drank at least once in the past month, including a large underage drinking population.
Reasons people binge drink include social, psychological, and even physical reasons. A binge-drinking session ends with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This usually involves consuming 4 or 5 drinks in the same setting, for men and women respectively.
Depending on the reasons why you binge drink, a number of methods can be used to help you avoid situations where you may binge drink, or to decrease your alcohol use altogether.
1. Social Reasons
Binge drinking can happen in social settings, such as at a bar with your friends or coworkers. College students have a much higher rate of binge drinking compared to other age groups, partly due to excessive drinking seen at college parties and other gatherings.
Avoiding social situations where drinks might be offered can help you avoid peer pressure to drink.
If you have a serious drinking problem, a cognitive behavioral therapy program can help you practice habits to avoid situations where you might drink, and skills to say no if you are offered drinks.
2. As A Coping Mechanism
People with other mental health problems may turn to alcohol as a way to escape. The numbing and depressant effects of alcohol can help distract a person in the short term but can harm your health in the long term.
Instead of hurting your health in the long-term with alcohol, seeking mental health treatment can set you on the path to recovery.
3. It’s Not Alcohol Use Disorder
Binge drinking can be a dangerous drinking behavior. However, most people who binge drink do not have a chronic alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking is separate from chronic alcohol-related problems because the drinking is done over a short period of time.
Many people who binge drink report only drinking alcohol about once a week, or even less. Though binge drinking is not always a sign of alcohol dependence, the effects of binge drinking can still extend into the long term.
Binge drinking can lead to an increased risk of liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, risky behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health problems. Binge drinking and AUDs are often addressed and treated differently by health professionals.
4. Brain Chemistry
Ethanol, the main ingredient in most alcoholic drinks, can affect how your brain works. Until recently, it was not clear how ethanol could encourage problem drinking behaviors.
One recent study points to ethanol affecting a passageway in the brain known as KCNK13. This passageway may be alcohol-sensitive. The presence of ethanol in the passageway may encourage binge drinking and other long-term drinking problems.
Though more studies may be needed on this interaction in the brain, future treatments may focus on KCNK13 in the hopes of a more effective treatment plan.
5. Lack Of Awareness
Some people may binge drink on accident. They may not know their drinking patterns meet the requirement for binge drinking, or not keep track of how much they drink.
Keeping track of your drinking habits can help you stay on top of your health. If you frequently experience blackouts, feel sick the day after you drink, or find yourself engaging in risky behaviors when you drink, you may want to start taking note of how much you drink.
Healthcare organizations may offer pamphlets on the dangers of consuming large amounts of alcohol. In-depth learning about alcohol use can be done by talking to your doctor.
Find Treatment For A Drinking Problem
Binge drinking affects nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. Despite the millions of Americans consuming large amounts of alcohol yearly, very few seek treatment.
People who binge drink regularly may benefit from treatment, as treatment can have a variety of benefits, including reducing your health risks and helping you have better control over your drinking.
To start practicing healthier drinking habits or to get help quitting drinking entirely, talk to your healthcare provider or contact us today.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Binge drinking is a serious but preventable public health problem
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Binge Drinking
ScienceDirect - Ethanol acts on KCNK13 potassium channels in the ventral tegmental area to increase firing rate and modulate binge–like drinking
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