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  • Binge drinking is when someone drinks an excessive amount of alcohol in a relatively short period of time, causing their blood alcohol concentration to go above the legal limit for driving (.08 percent). 

    The amount of alcohol or number of drinks this takes likely varies from person to person. However, binge drinking is defined as having 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women in a 2 hour period.

    Binging can have serious effects on physical and mental health, especially if you binge drink on a regular basis. But, stopping binge drinking can be easier said than done. So, let’s look at five ways you can make it a little easier.

    1. Make A Plan 

    Listing the reasons you want to stop binge drinking is not only a great way to start off the process, but it also gives you something to look back on when you’re having a hard time remembering why you stopped. 

    Write down the reasons you want to stop and what the consequences are if you continue your pattern of drinking. The consequences can involve the side effects of binge drinking, which may include:

    • blackouts
    • alcohol poisoning
    • ​liver disease
    • financial problems
    • high blood pressure
    • osteoporosis
    • depression
    • anxiety
    • increased risk of sexual assault

    2. Change Your Environment

    While you start on your journey to quit binge drinking, you may want to change up your environment. 

    Staying away from certain bars and restaurants, not going to parties where there’s alcohol, or visiting other places where you’re used to drinking can help you stay away from the temptation to have several drinks.

    Certain places, people, and events can trigger an episode of excessive drinking. You may need to avoid these if they remind you of past binge drinking experiences or they peer pressure you to take part in that behavior.

    3. Find Support

    Build up a support system you can rely on and don’t be afraid to ask for help. These people can be friends, family, or even someone from a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous. Try to also choose people who don’t drink a lot and don’t rely on alcohol to have a good time. 

    People in your support system might even go with you to an event with alcohol to help you through it. 

    Additionally, make sure your support system includes at least one person you can call around the clock for help when you’re struggling with cravings, triggers, or depression.

    4. Reward Accomplishments

    Whether you go to the bar and don’t drink, go a certain number of days without a drink, or have a stressful day at work and don’t end it with binge drinking, rewarding your accomplishments and goals is just as important as achieving them in the first place. 

    Positive reinforcement can be a very powerful incentive. 

    When you reach your goals, treat yourself to a day at the spa, a new outfit, or a nice meal. Anything that you like that doesn’t involve drinking alcohol.

    5. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

    Finding alternative coping mechanisms can be a great substitute for alcohol. People who are binge drinkers often use alcoholic drinks to cope with negative feelings. Finding alternatives can make quitting a little bit easier.

    Healthy coping mechanisms can include mindfulness, sports, hobbies, yoga, or hanging out with friends. Joining some kind of club can also be beneficial as it allows you to spend time with others while not drinking.

    6. Try Abstinence

    While you may think cutting down on your drinking is the solution to binge drinking, you may want to try abstaining from alcohol consumption entirely. 

    This is especially true if you’re exhibiting signs or symptoms of alcohol use disorder. For some people quitting altogether is easier to manage than trying to simply cut back on their number of drinks.

    Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can help you stop drinking if you’re having difficulty or if you’re looking for more information. You can find local meetings online. 

    7. Consider A Detox Program

    If you try to stop on your own but cravings or withdrawal are too much to handle, attending a detox program might be the way to go. 

    If you’re physically dependent on alcohol and try to stop, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like tremors, nausea, or depression.

    A detox program can help you deal with these symptoms in a safe environment with the help of a healthcare professional. It makes the process much more comfortable, especially if you’re already dealing with other health problems.

    After detox, an alcohol addiction treatment program might be the most beneficial next step. At an inpatient or outpatient treatment center, you can learn skills to help you quit drinking. Medications, like naltrexone, may also be offered to reduce cravings.

    If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, you’re not alone. Call our helpline today and find the support and treatment that’s right for you.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) - Alcohol Use and Your Health
    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) - Binge Drinking
    National Library for Medicine: MedlinePlus - How much is too much? 5 things you need to know about binge drinking
    University of Rochester Medical Center - College Students and the Dangers of Binge Drinking

    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on May 28, 2021
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