Posted in alcohol and drug addiction on April 2, 2018
Last modified on May 13th, 2019

Why Quitting Binge Drinking Cold Turkey Isn’t Effective

Binge drinking is a pattern of consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time.  This type of alcohol use disorder may not involve physical dependence on alcohol, but it can still lead to a lot of unpleasant and unintended consequences, such as accidents, violence, health problems or job loss.

If you periodically drink too much, you may be wondering how to quit binge drinking. Most likely you have told yourself you can quit any time you want to, but quitting binge drinking cold turkey isn’t effective.

What Causes Problems with Binge Drinking?

People typically drink to fit in with others who are doing the same thing, and binge drinking often becomes a problem for college students or other adolescents and young adults. Young people are often driven by curiosity about how large amounts of alcohol will make them feel, and they may drink heavily at parties, proms and before exams. Adults may binge drink at social events or during the holidays.

Since drinking is so socially acceptable in our culture, problems with binge drinking are very common. When negative consequences start happening, most people attempt to simply stop binge drinking but that doesn’t usually work. Without having a plan for how to handle situations that trigger heavy drinking including peer pressure, there is a good chance you will do the same thing sooner or later, even if you aren’t physically addicted to alcohol.

How to Quit Binge Drinking

Simply deciding to stop binge drinking won’t work on long-term basis. You have to know what you will say to friends or family who encourage you to drink, and you have to learn to make better choices, including choosing activities that don’t revolve around drinking. Another reason that quitting cold turkey won’t work is that there is a good chance that once you start drinking, you may no longer be able to control how much you drink.

With help, it is possible to quit binge drinking. Your family doctor can evaluate your drinking patterns and help you to make a treatment plan to modify or stop this behavior. With the help of a behavioral therapist or support group, problems with alcohol use can be overcome.



“Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help” – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH)

Editorial Staff

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