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How Binge Drinking Can Lead To An Alcohol Addiction

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 20, 2019

Drinking is often a social situation for many people, one that can create a light and fun atmosphere. Unfortunately, too many people turn these social situations into opportunities for binge drinking. Binge drinking can greatly increase an individual’s risk of developing an alcohol addiction.

Binge Drinking Definition

The definition of binge drinking has been set by the NIAA any type of drinking that causes blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.08 in two hours or less. This is typically defined as five drinks for men and four drinks for women in that time period.

Common Ages For Binge Drinking

A study by the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions found that that the statistics show about 70 percent of young adults in the country consumed alcohol or binge drank every year. There are multiple reasons that binge drinking is so heavily concentrated in the youth.

The early years of young adulthood are “exploratory” periods for many people, during which they experience the first stirrings of true adulthood. As a result, they often revel in their new found freedom by excessively drinking. Unfortunately, those feelings of adulthood often bring on high levels of stress. As a result, they turn to binge drinking to help calm their minds and to fit in with their peers.

And this can quickly become a difficult to break pattern of behavior. Soon, young adults binge drink because it’s what they do. Unfortunately, this can very quickly lead to an alcohol addiction.

However, it is important to remember that people beyond the young adult threshold (18-30) often develop binge drinking behavior patterns to medicate their depression symptoms.

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Common Influences On Binge Drinking

There are a wide variety of reasons that people fall into binge drinking patterns. These influences include:

  • Parenthood: studies have shown that people without children are much more likely to binge drink.
  • Full-Time Employment: people with a full-time job often have the disposable income to invest in regular binge drinking.
  • Military Service: studies have shown that those in the military are more likely to binge drink.
  • Peer Pressure: trying to fit in with the idea that “everybody” drinks often forces many people to turn to binge drinking.
  • Family Influences: a family history of binge drinking often causes people to become binge drinkers themselves.
  • Risk-Taking Personality: people who have a risk-taking or hedonistic personality are more likely to regularly abuse alcohol.

People who binge drink are exponentially more likely to becoming truly addicted to alcohol. Breaking the habit now can help you avoid that risk.

The Process Of Becoming Addicted To Alcohol

People that binge drink hover between alcohol addiction and being “almost alcoholic.” The signs of true alcohol addiction include:

  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms
  • Unsuccessfully quitting
  • Constant urges to consume alcohol
  • Problems with friends, family, and work
  • Drinking even when you know you are suffering
  • Driving after drinking, even when you know it’s dangerous
  • Only feeling “normal” when intoxicated

If you have yet to feel these symptoms, you are in luck: quitting binge drinking without being addicted to alcohol will be much easier.

Treating Binge Drinking

If you suffer from a binge drinking disorder, it is important to quit as soon as possible. First of all, consider why you engage in binge drinking activities. Is it due to peer pressure from friends or family members? Or does it come from a desire to fit in with a group of hard drinkers in your peer group?

Or has it simply become an unbroken habit? Remember: we are creatures of habit and it’s very easy to fall into harmful patterns from which it can feel impossible to emerge.

Next, you need to step back and examine how binge drinking is affecting your life. Are you losing friends or alienating family members? Has your school work or job experience degenerated? Do you suffer from depression or physical problems associated with drinking?

Lastly, you need to create a plan to quit binge drinking. Try cutting all alcohol out of your life for a long period of time. Six months is often enough for many people with a drinking problem.

After that abstinence period, you’re likely to find that you feel healthier and happier than ever. While some people can turn to occasional and light drinking at this point, pure abstinence is often the best result for former binge drinkers looking to avoid developing an alcohol addiction.

Finding Help If You Need It

If you are struggling to break your binge drinking habit, the first step in to reach out for help. We at Rehab Center understand your pain and confusion and we want to help. Contact us at as soon as possible to help get back on the road to recovery. Our experts can help you find an alcohol treatment center that will break your binge drinking habits.

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