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What Is Binge Drinking?

binge drinking

Having a few drinks with friends? Out enjoying the weekend with a few adult beverages? Having one or two is normally not a cause for concern. But when does it turn into binge drinking? Binge drinking is drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the last 30 days.

According to the CDC, it is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. This is what binge drinking looks like:​

  • Rapid consumption of alcohol.

  • When you drink, instead of choosing 1 - 2 responsibly it becomes 5 - 6 to get the desired effect of intoxication.

  • Even if you haven’t had a drink for 30 days - it is still considered binge drinking when you drink and become intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or above.

When Is Binge Drinking A Problem?

Binge drinking doesn’t become a problem, it is the problem. Why? Because binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol abuse and not drinking responsibly. Over 90% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days. It is easy for adults to rationalize binge drinking and believe it’s not a problem. “I only drink 1 time every 6 weeks” might seem innocent enough. But if that one time includes 5 - 7 drinks within a few hours, that can sometimes lead to blackouts, withdrawal and issues surrounding withdrawal.

Binge Drinking Can Be A Warning Sign of Addiction

Binge drinking can be a warning sign of addiction, other times it is the addiction. Why are you binge drinking? Are there issues in a relationship? Are you increasing your tolerances so you need more next time? Here are the most common symptoms of alcohol use disorder

1. Tolerance

Needing more of the alcohol or substance to receive the desired effect, for example, if you are intoxicated after 3 drinks, but after a while you need 5, then a while longer need 8.

2. Withdrawal

When you stop taking the substance, your body goes into detox mode with physical or physiological symptoms like shakes, tremors, cravings, nausea, or racing heart.

3. Fixation

Wanting a drink so badly you can’t concentrate on anything else.

4. Spending a Great Deal of Time or Energy Using, Obtaining or Recovering

Preoccupied with where do I get my next drink, and when can I get it.

5. Interpersonal Problems

When your substance use is starting arguments or is a source of contention from parent/spouse/friend.

6. Continued Use Despite Medical Consequences

For example, if you go to doctor and see that perhaps liver enzymes elevated, the doctor give advice to reduce or stop alcohol use...but you continue despite the consequences.

These are the top 6 most frequently occurring symptoms. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a complete list of 11 criteria in their DSM. By itself, binge drinking 5 or more drinks within one time in 30 days might not be the sole criteria to determine if you have an alcohol problem, but it is a symptom.

Getting Help For Addiction

While addiction recovery can be challenging, it is achievable with the right resources and support. If you’re not sure if you’re binge drinking, or not sure if it’s under control, call us today to schedule an assessment.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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