Binge Drinking: 10 Signs You Need Help

Though it may seem like the normal thing to do to head out to the bar after work and drink with friends or get drunk on the weekends, at the bar or at the game, the fact is that even these seemingly harmless social gatherings can add up to binge drinking, and binge drinking is risky.

Defined as drinking more than four drinks (for women) or five drinks (for men) in a two-hour period, binge drinking can contribute to a ton of health risks, interpersonal issues, and a lower overall quality of life.

Not sure if binge drinking is taking a toll on you? Consider these 10 signs that you may benefit from therapeutic treatment:

10 Signs That You May Benefit from Therapeutic Treatment

  • You are always late to work – or late on projects, late for meetings, or miss appointments. Binge drinking can dull the mind long after the alcohol wears off, especially if you frequently find yourself at the bar at the end of your shift and/or on the weekends. Many binge drinkers have a hard time being on time to work, especially after the weekend, and staying alert and managing their tasks while at work.
  • You keep making promises to people but forget about them. While under the influence, you may make plans or say things that you later forget, have to apologize for, or can’t follow through on. After you sober up, you may make promises to better manage your behavior while under the influence or your drinking levels in the future, but you later break those promises.
  • You hide alcohol – in the car, in the bathroom, or behind the shelf in your office. Hiding alcohol is a sign of an alcohol problem. If you’re trying to drink at work, during family activities, or at any time where it wouldn’t be appropriate and have to hide the alcohol in order to do so without getting caught, it’s clear that there’s something wrong.
  • You lie about how much you drank or whether or not you are drunk. Similarly, if you’re telling people that you’ve only had one drink when you’ve refilled your wine glass several times, or if you say that you’re not drunk when you clearly are, even you recognize that you are drinking too much.
  • You’ve been charged with driving under the influence or gotten into a wreck after drinking and driving. There’s no good reason to get behind the wheel while buzzed, drunk, or under the influence of any substance. If you get arrested or get into an accident due to this choice, you are taking your life into your own hands – and the lives of everyone else in the car and on the road.
  • You are struggling with health issues due to drinking. Alcohol is a toxin and over-use of the substance can wear on your body and contribute to the development of a range of chronic disorders, including certain types of cancer and heart disease. Binge drinking is just as damaging to the body as heavy drinking. Even if you go days without drinking, if you binge drink regularly, it takes a toll.
  • You have a hard time managing your weight because of alcohol. Alcohol is full of calories, and many people who binge drink struggle with extra weight due to the high intake of alcohol’s sugary carbs. If you do not struggle with extra weight but significantly limit your intake of food on the days when you know you are going to drink, this disordered eating habit can also signify a need for help.
  • You often feel run down, get sick easily, or feel achy when you aren’t drinking. Recuperating from binge drinking can take some time, and chronic binge drinking can mean that you feel extremely rundown for days in between drinking sessions. You also may be more likely to succumb to viruses and have a hard time beating any acute illness or injury when you binge drink frequently.
  • You have a tendency toward violent or impulsive behavior when you drink. It’s not uncommon for people who binge drink to “black out” while they are under the influence and engage in behaviors that they do not remember or only remember in part the next day. Unfortunately, these behaviors may be self-harming, embarrassing, or endanger or harm others – if they are and you are unable to manage them, it’s a clear sign that help is necessary.
  • You’ve tried to stop drinking but having “just one” or avoiding drinking altogether has proved impossible. If you recognize that the impact binge drinking is having on your life is anything but positive, and you’ve attempted to limit yourself to just one or two drinks in a sitting or have tried to stop drinking completely but been unsuccessful, treatment can help.

Depending upon how often you binge drink, how much you drink, and how long you’ve been drinking, different types of alcohol treatment may be more helpful. For example, if you struggle with physical withdrawal symptoms, then assistance for alcohol detox is highly recommended; you should not detox at home.
If you find yourself craving alcohol and fear relapse early on, inpatient care may be a better choice than outpatient treatment. In short, choose a program that can help to assist you with your personal needs in treatment rather than whatever is closest or least expensive. A little research can go a long way toward helping you to connect with the best possible treatment services for your needs.