How To Stop Binge Drinking: Break the Vicious Cycle and Reclaim Your Well-Being
How To Stop Binge Drinking: Break the Vicious Cycle and Reclaim Your Well-Being

How To Stop Binge Drinking: Break the Vicious Cycle and Reclaim Your Well-Being

Break the Vicious Cycle and Reclaim Your Well-Being


June 3, 2022

Binge Drinking
How To Stop Binge Drinking: Break the Vicious Cycle and Reclaim Your Well-Being
Reframe Content Team
Binge Drinking
10 min read
Author image
Reframe Content Team
June 3, 2022
10 min read

Jamie likes to enjoy a drink or two with dinner, but that number skyrockets when the weekends roll around. Before he knows it, Jamie falls into the grip of binge drinking, well on his way to blacking out and waking up the next morning with horrible hangxiety.

Many of us might find ourselves caught in the cycle of excessive drinking. But it's time we understand the truth about binge drinking and how we can control it.

What Is Binge Drinking?

For men, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting; for women, consuming four or more drinks in one sitting is considered binge drinking. According to the CDC, binge drinking is a serious, but preventable, public health problem.

Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.

Most people who binge drink do not have a severe alcohol use disorder. However, binge drinking is a harmful risk behavior associated with serious injuries and multiple diseases. It’s also associated with an increased risk of alcohol use disorder. One in six US adults binge drinks, and 25% do so at least weekly. Although binge drinking is just one pattern of excessive drinking, it accounts for nearly all excessive drinking. Furthermore, 90% of US adults who drink excessively report binge drinking.

Here are a few common signs of binge drinking:

  • Drinking more than intended
  • Feeling unable to stop drinking or slow down
  • Blacking out or having gaps in memory while drinking
  • Displaying violent or dangerous behaviors while under the influence (e.g., driving while intoxicated, getting into bar fights, or having unprotected sex)

Why Is Binge Drinking So Prevalent?

Our drinking culture, which often glorifies excessive alcohol consumption, might explain why binge drinking is so popular. From TV shows to social media, drinking is often portrayed as a symbol of fun and camaraderie. Celebrations, special occasions, and even casual meetups are often steeped in the expectation of alcohol consumption. This social conditioning can make it easy for us to overlook the dangers of binge drinking.

The consequences of binge drinking are far-reaching and can impact our physical health, mental well-being, and social relationships. Binge drinking can lead to severe health issues, like liver disease, heart problems, and an increased risk of cancer. On a psychological level, binge drinking can exacerbate mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression. Additionally, it can strain our relationships and potentially lead to risky behaviors, like drunk driving.

Health Effects of Binge Drinking

Although drinking any amount of alcohol carries certain risks, crossing the binge threshold increases the risk of acute harm, such as blackouts and overdoses. Additionally, binge drinking increases the likelihood of unsafe sexual behavior and the risks of sexually transmitted infections and unintentional pregnancy. Because of the impairments it produces, binge drinking can have potentially deadly consequences, like falls, burns, drownings, and car crashes.

Alcohol affects virtually all tissue in the body. Data suggests that even one episode of binge drinking can compromise the function of the immune system and lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Over time, alcohol misuse, like repeated episodes of binge drinking, can contribute to liver disease and other chronic diseases, and increases the risk of developing certain cancers, such as head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers.

Binge drinking can also be deadly. Roughly 95,000 deaths in the U.S. between 2011 and 2015 resulted from alcohol misuse, and almost half (46 percent) were associated with binge drinking.

Binge drinking is also costly. Researchers estimated that binge drinking accounted for 77 percent ($191.1 billion) of the $249 billion economic cost of alcohol misuse in 2010.

How To Stop Binge Drinking

People binge drink for various reasons. When it comes to quitting binge drinking, different strategies will work for different people. If you or someone you care about wants to quit binge drinking, consider the following ways to stop:

  • Change your environment. Think about where, when, and with whom you spend most of your time binge drinking. It can be difficult to cut down on drinking when you’re constantly reminded of it. You might want to avoid certain bars or restaurants, and limit the time you spend with those who binge drink.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. Any time you try to change a bad habit, your motivation is sure to vary. Making a list of all the reasons why you want to stop binge drinking and reviewing it often can keep you motivated to quit.
  • Reward your accomplishments. Use positive reinforcement to reach your goal, like getting a manicure after you make it through a difficult period without binge drinking. Rewards will help keep you going and help you reaffirm your goals.
  • Enlist family and friends. Look to your family and friends for support as you quit or cut down on your alcohol use. They can give you praise and other rewards when you do well, too!
  • Consider abstinence. Some people find that quitting alcohol altogether is more manageable than drinking occasionally. We have a track specifically geared toward quitting alcohol on our app!
  • Set limits. If abstaining from alcohol completely doesn’t feel right, try setting a limit on how much you drink. You might consider reducing the amount you drink, only drinking on certain days or during certain hours, or avoiding particular types of alcohol. Consider asking your family and friends to help you monitor your alcohol intake.
  • Finding alternative, healthier ways of coping. Many binge drinkers find that alcohol allows them to cope with negative feelings, such as stress, depression, anxiety, and boredom. Replace alcohol with healthier options, such as exercise, self-care, sports, hobbies, and connecting with others.
  • Consider medication. Doctors might prescribe medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and manage cravings, when needed. Medications such as acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram may be prescribed. Speak with your doctor to determine if a medication is a good treatment for you.

Breaking free from binge drinking isn't always easy, but with determination, support, and the proper strategies, it’s absolutely possible. As we work toward healthier drinking habits, we'll discover that the joy and connection we once sought in alcohol can be found in the richness of our everyday lives.

Build Healthier Drinking Habits With Reframe!

Binge drinking can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. We know there’s a lot of pressure in our culture to “just have one more,” but we also know that’s simply not worth the adverse consequences on our well-being. We now know that drinking too much is linked to several chronic diseases, and flooding our bodies with more alcohol only increases our risks of developing them.

However, by taking steps to change our drinking habits, it’s possible to reverse many of the negative effects excessive alcohol consumption causes.

If you’re ready to take your health to the next level and change (or end) your relationship with alcohol for good, then you’re in the right place. At Reframe, we take a compassionate, stigma-free approach to helping people unlock their full potential. From our neuroscience-based daily activities to our anonymous 24/7 Forum chat, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for you to start learning and changing for the better.

Plus, we’ve recently introduced monthly challenges and an in-app chatbot powered by the world’s strongest AI! You also won’t want to miss the insightful courses we add each week, which will empower you to make better decisions in your life.

With more than 2.1 million downloads (and counting!), we’re slowly reframing what it means to be sober or sober curious. So, are you ready to take your wellness regimen to the next level? Do you want to thrive and not just survive? Is it time to step into the strongest, healthiest version of yourself? Then head to our app and begin your personalized journey today! We’re excited for you to join our incredible community!

Reframe has helped over 2 millions people to build healthier drinking habits globally
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