Having one too many drinks every now and then isn’t cause for too much concern, but that changes when alcohol is frequently used in excess. Chronic alcohol abuse and binge drinking are two separate issues even though they feed into each other. We need to dive into what binge drinking is to understand chronic alcohol abuse as it’s the most common sign of the condition.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is measured by your blood alcohol content, or BAC. In the United States, a BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit and it takes only four drinks for women or five for men in less than two hours to reach this point. When trying to determine how many drinks you’ve had in a night, remember that a drink is either:
- 1.5 ounces of liquor
- 5 ounces of win
- or 12 ounces of beer
If this amount of alcohol doesn’t seem like much, it’s because public perception of alcohol abuse and binge drinking isn’t the same as it is for drug abuse. In fact, over 25% of adults report having engaged in binge drinking within the last month. An even more concerning figure is the 18% of adults aged 18 and older who consistently binge drink up to several times each month.
Those who frequently binge drink are often abusing alcohol rather than simply drinking too much by accident. If you’re worried about your own drinking or that of a loved one, there are certain signs of alcohol abuse you can look out for.
Signs of Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse looks different for everyone and often stems from various places. Keeping an eye on your relationship with alcohol can allow you to still enjoy the substance without significant health impacts. You should take a step back and evaluate your drinking if you:
- Are unable to limit the amount you drink
- Drink frequently throughout the day
- Require more alcohol to achieve the same level of inebriation
- Get defensive when someone mentions your drinking
- Experience shaking, nausea or muscle fatigue when sober
- Make poor decisions while drunk that put you in danger
- Continue to drink despite any negative consequences
Having one or more of these indicators of alcohol abuse means you may be engaging in drinking as a form of coping or self-medication. Alcohol abuse is one of the easiest forms of substance abuse to slip into due to how accessible and accepted alcohol is. The struggle comes from understanding the long-term implications alcohol abuse has on the mind and body.
How Alcohol Abuse Impacts Your Health
There’s no denying that too much alcohol is a bad thing, whether you mean in the moment or in the long run. What many don’t know is that no amount of alcohol can be considered good or beneficial according to a 26-year international study. Alcohol abuse increases your chances of heart disease, liver problems and various types of cancer along with:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Contracting a sexually transmitted disease through unprotected sex
- Chronic depression
- High or low blood pressure
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Alcohol poisoning
- Weight gain
- Mental health issues
- Weakened immune system
Alcohol abuse also takes a toll on your social, school and work life. Job and academic performance can quickly begin to suffer due to a lack of energy, mental stamina and critical thinking skills all caused by alcohol abuse. Friends and family members may notice you drinking more or staying home alone instead of going out to drink. Irritability and trouble regulating emotions are two side effects of heavy drinking that can put a strain on these relationships.
It’s best to tackle alcohol abuse as soon as it’s noticed to limit the amount of damage it can do to you. Your loved ones will also benefit from you seeking treatment as they’ll be able to interact with a happier and healthier version of yourself.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Is Here
America’s Rehab Campus has helped thousands of individuals overcome their dependencies and addiction to alcohol and other drugs. With industry-leading medical detox and extensive treatment methodologies, ARC gives you the best chance at recovery and long-term sobriety possible. Our programs are designed to give you the tools needed to achieve long-term sobriety and avoid relapse.
To get more information on our treatment plans, accepted insurance or general substance abuse knowledge, reach out to our compassionate ARC team today.