Excessive alcohol consumption may be considered binge drinking, which can be harmful to your physical and mental health–especially if it becomes a habit. While it’s perfectly normal to enjoy a few drinks every so often, this can develop into a more serious issue. Fortunately, we can share strategies that may help you to stop binge drinking. If you determine that you may need help with alcohol misuse, our AToN Center team provides truly individualized care at our luxury treatment facility for alcohol and drug rehab in San Diego.
What Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is the act of consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This technically requires a pattern of drinking that increases your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 % or higher. However, because of the average size and metabolism of female and male adults, binge drinking is different for women and men. The difference is slim at five drinks for a man and four for a woman in under two hours.
The time in which the alcohol is consumed is a determining factor in whether the habit is binge drinking, heavy drinking, or not a concern. It’s recommended by the CDC that you should drink no more than two drinks a day. However, even at this rate, if you feel your alcohol use causes problems in how you function on a day-to-day basis, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.
Causes of Binge Drinking
There are various causes for binge drinking, but no single factor leads to this pattern. Environmental and genetic factors can contribute to binge drinking. For example, if there’s a history of alcohol addiction in your family, this can make it more likely to develop a substance misuse issue.
One of the main causes of binge drinking is social pressure to drink. A person may feel compelled to drink alcohol because peers are drinking and they want to fit in and be accepted. If you spend a lot of time with people who pressure you to drink–whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues–you may want to consider finding a new social group or ensuring that you set a boundary to help yourself refrain from drinking too much.
Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can contribute to binge drinking. This is because people who experience these mental health disorders may use alcohol and other substances as a way to cope with their emotional struggles. Finding activities and learning techniques to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression can help you to stop binge drinking. In our holistic healing program, we use a variety of approaches to help residents learn how to deal with problems that contribute to alcohol misuse.
Components of your environment can also be an offending factor in binge drinking. The accessibility of alcohol and its prevalence in social situations encourages people to drink more. Many grocery stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions make alcohol available to their guests, increasing the accessibility to alcohol in our day-to-day lives. The environment of our culture also promotes drinking which contributes to binge drinking.
How To Stop Binge Drinking: 6 Steps
Binge drinking can have serious negative consequences so it’s important to recognize it and decide to stop sooner rather than later. Still, quitting binge drinking is a process and it may take time and effort before you see a change.
Set Limits for Your Drinking
Consider how much alcohol is appropriate for you to drink. It’s suggested that one drink a day for women and two for men is okay. Consuming more than that habitually could be cause for concern. It may be helpful to track your drinks so you can gradually reduce the amount you drink weekly.
When you set your limits, it’s also important to set boundaries with people in your life whom you may drink with. Communicating your drink limit helps you and they become more accountable and can even reduce the pressure you may feel to drink alcohol.
A trigger is any sort of stimulus that causes a memory, an emotion, or a behavior to occur. In this case, you should avoid any environmental or social factor that contributes significantly to drinking too much. Try to identify situations, people, or emotions that influence you to drink so that you can find better ways to cope with these triggers.
A great way to avoid or manage alcohol triggers is to learn coping techniques to control your urges, such as breathing exercises or meditation.
Finding a new hobby can help you stop binge drinking. A new activity or interest can distract you as well as help you avoid situations where you might be influenced to drink. Physical activity such as hiking, swimming, or working out can help resolve the root causes of alcoholism. The endorphins released when performing physical activity can help relieve stress or feelings of sadness. This is why our alcohol treatment program encourages regular exercise and physical activities.
Creative and mindfulness hobbies, such as painting or yoga can also help you stop drinking, despite being less active hobbies. Art is a great outlet for your emotions and may help you manage your mental health.
Seeking support from friends and family is so helpful in quitting binge drinking. Informing those who are often around you of your issue can increase your accountability. Knowing of your struggle also enables your family members or friends to offer whatever help they can–whether it’s helping you avoid triggers or being a person you can talk to.
Also, consider reaching out for professional help. Alcohol misuse may lead to alcohol addiction which requires detoxification and treatment to care for the condition in the safest way. We provide 24/7 care and have a ratio of three staff members to every one resident, meaning that you will have a comfortable and attentive environment to detox in.
Celebrate Your Progress
Take pride in every step you take to stop binge drinking, no matter how small. Celebrating your progress is great motivation to continue your efforts. You can celebrate with experiences or items that will encourage you to keep up with your sobriety goals. For example, you may celebrate by buying a special dessert after you complete a week without binge drinking. Other ideas of how you may celebrate include:
- Get a massage
- Plan a fun trip for the weekend
- Invite your friends for a dinner party
- Buy yourself a new outfit
- Try a new restaurant
Mindfulness is a mental state of focusing your awareness on the present moment while accepting your feelings, thoughts, and sensations you may feel. You can practice mindfulness through meditation, journaling, taking a walk, or doing breathing exercises. All these types of activities increase your self-awareness. A heightened sense of self-awareness can help you recognize thoughts and behaviors that trigger alcohol misuse. It also helps you gain more control over your urges and actions.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction can help you get help for yourself or a loved one. Binge drinking doesn’t equate to addiction but it is a common sign of a problem with alcohol. Here are signs and symptoms you can watch for:
- High tolerance
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Withdrawal symptoms (shaking, nausea, sweating)
- Loss of control over the amount you drink
- Drinking despite consequences
- Relationship issues
- Strong cravings
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in San Diego
If you struggle with alcohol misuse there are several effective treatment options to help you quit drinking. Substance misuse treatment programs such as detox, residential rehab, partial hospitalization, and outpatient rehab are all available to help treat alcohol addiction.
Within our detox and residential programs, AToN Center offers treatments for both holistic and traditional therapies. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, EMDR, acceptance and commitment therapy, trauma treatment, and mindfulness practices. Our holistic approach helps address physical, emotional, and mental issues causes by alcohol use. This includes hypnotherapy, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, personal training, watsu, and stress reduction.
We also provide access to support groups and relapse prevention resources in our aftercare program. This helps you maintain your goals and achieve long-term sobriety.
Get The Help You Need at AToN Center!
Our San Diego rehab center is a luxury facility that offers individualized care from experienced staff who understand your struggle and want to prioritize your recovery. We tailor each treatment to the individual meaning that you’ll receive the therapies that will be most effective for you.
Our comprehensive treatment programs include holistic approaches that help heal your mind, body, and spirit while setting you up for success in recovery both in and out of our rehab. AToN Center also offers privacy and comfort by housing only six residents per each of our five estates. If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol use, call us today to learn what AToN Center can do for you!