In recent years, Americans have grown increasingly aware of binge drinking alcohol abuse, a widespread pattern of alcohol intake that results in rapid intoxication. The public has also grown increasingly aware of the dangers of alcohol binging. Here are five common reasons for binge drinking, accompanied by potential options for countering these motivations and minimizing your consumption of alcohol.
#1 A belief that drinking is beneficial
Research has shown that your attitude toward drinking has a major effect on your alcohol consumption. Significant numbers of drinkers go on binges because they believe that rapid intoxication will provide them with benefits such as:
- Lowered personal inhibitions
- Easier social interactions, and
- A sense of social bonding with peers who binge drink
The best method of counteracting the “positives” of binge drinking is to advertise the true costs of the practice, which include things such as alcohol poisoning, greatly increased chances of getting involved in motor vehicle accidents and greatly increased chances of perpetrating a sexual assault or being a sexual assault victim.
#2 Failure to detect the connection to drunkenness
Substantial numbers of alcohol bingers don’t fully understand that their rapid drinking will lead to drunkenness. In fact, many bingers underestimate their actual level of intoxication. The best method of combating this factor is improved understanding of how little alcohol it takes to reach a state of intoxication in a short period of time (just five half-ounce servings of pure alcohol for men and four half-ounce servings for women).
#3 Adopting the behaviors of groups of drinkers
Research shows that drinking seems more pleasurable when you consume alcohol along with other drinkers. Unfortunately, this perception of increased pleasure may lead to a pattern of alcohol binging if your companions also binge. The answer is not to drink alone, but to have an awareness of how you can unintentionally adopt the alcohol-consuming behaviors of your drinking peers.
#4 Easy availability of alcohol on college campuses
College students are among the nation’s most likely binge drinkers. In many cases, the ready availability of alcohol on college campuses contributes to the high rate of binging. Stricter enforcement of on-campus regulations and drinking laws at off-campus establishments could have a major impact on decreasing the flow of alcohol used for binging.
#5 College norms that favor alcohol binging
Excessive alcohol use is a deeply embedded norm on many college campuses. This means that new students often find themselves in an environment that at least tacitly encourages binge drinking. College administrators and campus groups can counter drinking norms with programs that emphasize the true personal and social costs of binge drinking alcohol abuse. Resources Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm Psychological Bulletin: Binge Drinking in Young Adults – Data, Definitions and Determinants https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748736/ National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: College Drinking https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/collegefactsheet/Collegefactsheet.pdf