Binge Drinking and Treatment in London
Living in London can be stressful and that is why many people choose to relax after a hard day at work by drinking alcohol. The fast-paced life and stress can make someone drink more than a couple of drinks.
When in a short amount of time, a person drinks a lot of alcohol (on one occasion) it is considered binge drinking. A woman is binge drinking if she is drinking more than 6 standard units of alcohol (2 pints of 5% strength beer or 2 large (250ml) glasses of 12% wine), while a man is binge drinking if he drinks 8 or more standard units of alcohol (5 bottles (330ml) of 5% strength beer or 5 small (125ml) glasses of 13% wine). Excessive alcohol use in about an hour or two is also considered binge drinking. (NHS)
Dangers of Binge Drinking
When a person is binge drinking for a short period of time can experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms once it stops drinking. Here are a few withdrawal symptoms:
- shakes and tremors of the hands
- anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
- seizures and hallucinations
Withdrawal symptoms can lead to serious health risks, such as delirium tremens. This health problem is linked with increased heart rate and blood pressure. Delirium tremens is also connected with seizures and intense hallucinations.
These seizures are dangerous as they can lead to death if the person with delirium tremens falls and suffers from head injuries.
Binge drinking can result in certain health and safety concerns:
Short Term Health Risks
- Partner and/or child abuse
- Injuries- falls, burns, drowning, traffic injuries (when drinking and driving)
- Risky sexual behaviours (sex with multiple partners, unprotected sex, sexual assault that can lead to unwanted pregnancy and/ or sexually transmitted diseases)
- Alcohol poisoning
Long Term Health Risks
- Mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, risk of suicide)
- Heart disease
- Liver, brain, and stomach problems
- Social problems – (damaged personal relationships, unemployment)
If you are struggling with binge drinking you may be at risk of developing alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning appears when the amount of alcohol you drink cannot be processed by your liver, resulting in harming the proper functioning of the body. A person with alcohol poisoning is in danger and needs immediate medical assistance. Recognizing the signs of alcohol poisoning is important:
- Vomiting while sleeping
- Not being able to be woken up
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Incontinent of urine
- Cold, pale skin
Alcohol poisoning depends on the age, sex, and weight of the person who engages in binge drinking.
Binge drinking can be dangerous as it can cause choking on vomit, respiratory failure, and heart attack. If you are binge drinking you may be exposed to these risks for up to 24 hours after you stopped drinking.
This type of drinking can result in serious health problems. Repetitive episodes of binge drinking can harm your body and increase the risk of death. Even if the withdrawal symptoms are not severe, drinking often can lead to alcoholism. Binge drinking daily can result in developing alcohol dependence.
How to stop binge drinking
Ask for support from family and friends
The support of family and friends can be crucial when you want to cut back or abstain from alcohol consumption. When you want to stop binge drinking, make sure you surround yourself with people who do not drink and can give you full support. If it is necessary to attend an event where alcohol will be served, ask a trusted friend or relative to come with you and make sure you drink only non-alcoholic drinks.
Write a plan and stick to it
Write on a piece of paper why you consider drinking less alcohol or quitting is the best solution for you. Make sure you put a reminder in writing about all the consequences of continuing drinking alcohol, such as:
- Car accidents
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Alcohol poisoning
- Financial problems
- Mental health disorders
Keep this list close to you, especially in those moments when you feel you need a drink. If slowing down is your goal, keep a record of how much you drink, in which situations, people you are with, and the emotions you experience. This diary will help you become more mindful and better understand what triggers your drinking habits.
Change your entourage
You might be triggered to binge drinking by people, places, and events. To regain self-control, you may need to avoid certain parties, places where you usually socialize or other activities you know will trigger excessive drinking.
The first step in adopting new healthy habits is to avoid spending time with those people in your life who like to drink alcohol for fun. In the long-term, you may need to permanently avoid these triggers.
When going out to a party make sure you refrain from playing drinking games such as back-to-back, fuzzy duck, cup stack or any other game that requires drinking alcohol. When playing these games, you may not realize that you are consuming more alcohol than your body can process. Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink and make sure you consume soft non-alcoholic drinks as well.
Try abstinence instead of cutting down the amount of alcohol
Cutting down the amount of alcohol may be an option for the short term, but in the long-term becoming abstinent is a much healthier and safer solution. Abstinence can have its challenges and the best way to handle it is to talk to a rehab specialist that can give you proper treatment and guidance.
Understand the reasons that make you drink excessively
If you started drinking to reduce stress, your social anxieties, or other negative feelings, ask a therapist to give you support in learning healthy techniques to manage negative thought patterns. A new healthy lifestyle can change your perspective.
There are a few changes that can positively impact your life:
- Positive self-talk
- Healthy eating
- Limiting negative news on TV and social media
Other ways of improving self-esteem to help you regain sobriety is being around positive thinkers. Around these people, you may also feel an improvement in your mood, and you will not feel the need to escape negative emotions with binge drinking.
Castle Health is a non-judgmental and safe environment that offers inpatient and outpatient treatment programmes for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. Using therapeutic techniques and a unique holistic approach, our rehab specialists help you heal your body and mind and support you in learning new healthy coping mechanisms. Contact Castle Health today to find out how we can help you or a loved one.