The Psychology of Binge Drinking

Why do people overindulge in drinking alcohol? Some people drink too much because they are physically addicted to alcohol, but not everyone who drinks heavily is actually physically dependent on it. A common problem with alcohol use is binge drinking, which is consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. This is usually about four drinks in two hours for the average woman or five drinks in two hours for the average man. Those who drink heavily at times may end up in a lot of trouble and may make the effort to stop binge drinking, but sooner or later do the same thing again.

Causes of Binge Drinking

If binge drinking isn’t caused by physical dependence on alcohol, what causes it? For many people, binge drinking is triggered by the fact that alcohol use is so socially acceptable. Many social occasions, from holiday gatherings to sporting events, revolve around alcohol. The mind-altering chemical in alcohol can lower inhibitions and relieve stress, so some people binge drink when they are feeling particularly overwhelmed or stressed.

How to Stop Binge Drinking

The best way to stop binge drinking depends on how serious the problem is, as well as what is causing it. If you are physically dependent on alcohol, you will need to go to inpatient rehabilitation so that you can be medically supervised while you go through detoxification. If you binge drink sporadically, you may not be physically dependent on alcohol and you may be able to stop binge drinking by going through behavioral therapy. It’s important to get in touch with what is triggering the urge to drink too much, because binge drinking can lead to very serious consequences, including vehicle accidents, falls or drowning. If you are turning to alcohol to ease anxiety or emotional discomfort, a mental health professional can help you to get to the root of your problems and help you to find healthier coping skills. Once you acknowledge that you have a problem with binge drinking, it is possible to find a solution to moderate or stop the behavior before it leads to unwanted consequences. Resource  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking

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