“Is binge drinking alcoholism?”
Maybe you’ve been brushing off this nagging question. Binge drinking is for college students, right?
Though over half of all college students admit to binge drinking, 70% of binge drinkers are over the age of 26.
Coping with a loved one’s problem drinking can be a scary and sometimes isolating time. We’re here to help. This guide will answer the question “Is binge drinking alcoholism?” and will provide information and resources to help you help them.
What Is Binge Drinking?
To start, let’s define binge drinking.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as happening when a man consumes five or more alcoholic drinks in two hours. In women, binge drinking occurs when a woman drinks four or more alcoholic drinks in two hours.
It’s important to note here that “drink” is defined as a single serving of alcohol. This means that your loved one’s giant glass of wine could actually be two or three servings.
When Is Binge Drinking Alcoholism?
While binge drinking is unhealthy for everyone, the occasional episode is common and mostly not a cause for concern. Binge drinking alone does not necessarily indicate alcoholism.
In fact, according to the CDC, most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent. Only about 10% of binge drinkers are alcoholics. So when does binge drinking become alcoholism?
Binge drinking is an issue when a person loses control over their alcohol intake, compulsively uses alcohol, and experiences a negative emotional state when not using alcohol. At this point, they have a drinking problem severe enough to be defined as alcohol use disorder (or alcoholism).
Other signs of alcoholism include the following:
- The inability to limit drinking
- Continuing to drink even when it causes personal/professional problems
- Having to drink increasing amounts to get the same effect
- Experiencing physical withdraw symptoms when trying to quit
How Can I Help My Loved One?
If you’ve read the above signs of alcohol use disorder and feel that your loved one may have a problem with binge drinking and alcoholism, please don’t despair. There is so much that can be done, and there are so many options for help.
First, talk with your loved one about your concerns. They may already know they have a problem, or they may be resistant to the idea. If possible, have them take an online assessment of their alcohol use.
Looking For More Info?
Is your loved one still resistant to the idea that they have a problem? You may want to find a local chapter of Al-Anon, which can provide you with further support and resources.
If you’re looking for more information on alcohol and drug abuse, we’ve got you covered. Check out our blog for many more articles on both addiction and addiction recovery.