One in six adults binge drinks at least four times a month, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drinking an average of eight drinks per binge. Binge drinking carries many risks, ranging from unintentional injuries such as falls, alcohol poisoning and liver disease. If you tend to binge, finding out how to stop binge drinking is a key step towards reducing the risks.
#1 Recognize Your Triggers and Learn to Cope With Them
Every drinker has his or her “triggers.” These are situations or uncomfortable emotional states that might encourage you to drink as a way of coping. For instance, you might be more likely to drink heavily after a stressful day of work. Once you’ve figured out what your drinking triggers are, you can learn healthier ways to cope with any difficult emotions or avoid any risky situations. For instance, you might take a long, relaxing bath to ease your stress instead of opening a beer.
# 2 Drink More Slowly
Slowing down your drinking is a great method to limit your binging. If you drink a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones, for example, and make a conscious effort to limit yourself to one alcoholic drink per hour, you can avoid binge drinking without cutting out alcohol altogether.
# 3 Keep a Drink Journal
If you’re wondering how to stop binge drinking, you might be surprised to learn that simply recording your drinks in a “drink journal” can help you cut down. As well as giving you a better idea of how much you drink, noting down the situation you were in when you binged (including how you were feeling and what situation your were in), can help you identify triggers and really start to understand your drinking.
# 4 Find Things to Do That Don’t Involve Drinking
If your social life seems to revolve around drinking, one of the best tips is to change what you do when you’re seeing your friends. Switch your socializing behaviors from going to the bar to going out to see a movie or attending a concert. This is an easy way to dramatically reduce the amount you drink.
#5 Get Help From a Rehab Center
About one in 10 people who binge drink suffer from alcoholism. If you’re one of these people (or think you could be), you may need to take bigger steps to address the problem. If gaining a better understanding of how you might stop binge drinking hasn’t helped, you may decide to get the support you need from addiction specialists at a rehab center where they understand addiction and how to tackle it.
There are many different approaches to the issue of how to stop binge drinking, but there is no one “right” way to deal with it. What’s important is finding an approach that works for you and, even if you aren’t successful right away, making an ongoing, concerted effort to make long-term changes to your drinking habits. Resources “Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking” – CDC https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm “Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009–2011” – CDC https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/14_0329.htm