Binge Drinking Prevention
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking equals 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour time frame for males; 4 or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour time frame for females.
42% of people aged 25-34 and 33% of people aged 18-24 in Howard county reported binge drinking in the last 30 days, according to the 2021 Howard County Health Assessment Survey.
Binge drinking is not the same as alcoholism, but people who binge drink are at a greater risk for developing alcohol dependency.
If you’re not sure where to begin with reducing and eliminating binge-drinking behavior, you can start by being honest with yourself. Write down how much you drink and what you think are the short-term and long-term effects of drinking.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. To get started in the right direction ask your primary care physician, your employer assistance provider, or a counselor.
Binge Drinking Information
Signs of binge drinking
Signs of binge drinking include:
- Drinking more than you planned or more often than you planned.
- Drinking early in the day.
- Feeling defensive about your drinking.
- Not being able to slow down or stop your drinking.
- Needing more alcohol to get the same effect.
- Giving up activities you enjoy to spend more time drinking.
Binge drinking facts & figures
Binge drinking is the most common and costly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women.
Most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol. However, binge drinking is harmful on its own. It is associated with serious injuries and diseases, as well as with a higher risk of alcohol use disorder.
How common is binge drinking?
- One in six US adults binge drinks, with 25% doing so at least weekly.
- Binge drinking is just one pattern of excessive drinking, but it accounts for nearly all excessive drinking. Over 90% of US adults who drink excessively report binge drinking.
Who binge drinks?
- Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34.
- Binge drinking is more common among men than among women.
- Binge drinking is most common among adults who have higher household incomes ($75,000 or more), are non-Hispanic White, or live in the Midwest.
- For some groups and states, binge drinking is not as common, but those who binge drink do so frequently or consume large quantities of alcohol.
Health problems associated with excessive alcohol use
Excessive drinking both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, is associated with numerous health problems, including:
- Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells); pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); various cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus; high blood pressure; and psychological disorders.
- Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns, and firearm injuries.
- Violence, such as child maltreatment, homicide, and suicide.
- Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Alcohol use disorders.
Preventing excessive alcohol use
Everyone can contribute to the prevention of excessive alcohol use.
- Choose not to drink too much yourself and help others not do it.
- Check your drinking, and learn more about the benefits of drinking less alcohol.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.
- Support effective community strategies to prevent excessive alcohol use, such as those recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force.
- Not serve or provide alcohol to those who should not be drinking, including people under the age of 21 or those who have already drank too much.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about your drinking behavior and request counseling if you drink too much.
Resources for families coping with substance use disorders
Every family is unique, but all families share a bond that can be used to support one another during trying times.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for helping a family member who is drinking too much, using drugs, or dealing with a mental illness, research shows that family support can play a major role in helping a loved one with mental and substance use disorders.
Find tips for starting a conversation or for locating resources to assist your loved one from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) HERE.
Binge drinking awareness video series
Virtual Happy Hour
At The Club
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem. It doesn’t cost anything to attend A.A. meetings. There is no age or education requirements to participate. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. A.A.’s primary purpose is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety. https://www.aa.org/
Open Meetings are open to the public to attend and listen, Closed Meetings are for people who identify as ‘alcoholic’ only. You can find a meeting near you here: https://www.howardcoaa.org/meetingschedule
If you have a loved one with a drinking problem, Al-Anon can be a source of support. Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.https://al-anon.org/
You can find an Al-Anon Meeting near you here: http://www.al-anon-alateen-dcmd.org/images/uploads/Directory-PG.pdf
PEER Recovery Specialists are people who have lived through experiences with addiction in Howard County. They are available to speak with by calling 667-203-1253.