I Binge When I Drink: What to Know about Binge Drinking

I Binge When I Drink: What to Know about Binge Drinking

Drinking alcohol is a common social activity. Going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday, drinking because of promotion, or a holiday party with family.

While many people enjoy a drink occasionally, there is a subset of individuals who engage in binge drinking. Binge drinking involves consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period, typically within a few hours. It is important to note that binge drinking is not the same as alcoholism, but it can still have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health.

In this article, we will explore the differences between binge drinking and alcoholism, the risks associated with binge drinking, and strategies to gain control over excessive alcohol consumption. So, if you find yourself claiming “I don't drink often but when I do I binge,” this article will strike a balance between enjoying a drink and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this article is for you.

Understanding Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as consuming a harmful amount of alcohol in one session of drinking. While the specific definition may vary, it is generally considered binge drinking for females to have four or more standard drinks in one sitting, and for males, it is five or more. A standard drink typically contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol, such as 12 ounces of 5% beer, 5 ounces of 12% wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of 40% distilled spirits.

Binge drinking is often associated with younger adults, particularly those in college. However, it is important to note that binge drinking is not limited to a specific age group or demographic. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 5% of youth under age 17 and 10% of adults over age 65 engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

The Risks of Not Drinking Often, But Binging

Engaging in binge drinking can have both immediate and long-term consequences for physical and mental health. Some of the immediate risks include an increased likelihood of injuries, such as car crashes or falls, as well as an increased risk of experiencing or perpetrating interpersonal violence. Binge drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning, a potentially life-threatening condition.

In the long term, frequent episodes of binge drinking can have serious effects on various bodily systems. It can increase the risk of liver disease, certain types of cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Binge drinking can also harm unborn babies if pregnant, leading to conditions like fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Differentiating Binge Drinking and Alcoholism

It is important to distinguish between binge drinking and alcoholism. Binge drinking is characterized by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period. It does not necessarily indicate a severe alcohol use disorder. In fact, the majority of binge drinkers do not have a severe alcohol problem.

On the other hand, alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic disease in which individuals consume alcohol in a manner that causes problems or complications for themselves or others. Alcoholism is often characterized by a loss of control over drinking, a strong craving for alcohol, and the inability to stop or limit consumption.

Treatment and Strategies for Not Drinking Often, But Binging

If you find yourself concerned about I don't drink often but when I do I binge, you might want to gain control over binge drinking. There are various treatment options and strategies available. It is essential to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are professionals and resources ready to support you on your journey towards healthier habits.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder

If you believe that your binge drinking may be a sign of an alcohol problem or if you have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, there are different treatment settings that can help address your individual needs. These settings may include:

  • Detoxification: This is the first step in the recovery process for many individuals. Detox helps you safely and comfortably stop drinking, withdraw from alcohol, and become medically stable to enter further treatment.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation: Inpatient rehab provides intensive treatment and 24/7 care from medical staff. It typically involves a structured program that includes therapy, counseling, and support groups.
  • Outpatient Programs: Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while living at home. They offer flexibility in scheduling and can vary in intensity, ranging from several hours a week to daily sessions.
  • Therapy Programs: Various therapy approaches can be effective in treating alcohol use disorder. These may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational enhancement therapy, and 12-step treatment programs.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Medications can be used to assist with alcohol withdrawal and cravings. These medications, such as naltrexone or acamprosate, can be prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.


Strategies for Mindful Drinking

For those who don’t drink often but when they do they binge, but still want to gain control over their drinking habits, practicing mindful drinking can be a helpful approach. Mindful drinking involves being conscious and intentional about your alcohol consumption, making deliberate choices, and being aware of the effects alcohol can have on your body and mind.

Here are some strategies for practicing mindful drinking and developing healthier habits:

  1. Set Goals: Determine your personal drinking goals and limits. Consider how much and how often you want to drink, as well as the reasons behind your desire to cut back or maintain moderation.
  2. Change Your Environment: Identify triggers and situations that lead to excessive drinking. Avoid places or social settings that encourage heavy drinking, and surround yourself with supportive friends and family who respect your goals.
  3. Explore Alternatives: Find non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails that you enjoy. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to create tasty and satisfying alternatives to alcoholic drinks.
  4. Practice Self-Care: Identify and address any underlying issues or emotions that may contribute to excessive drinking. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-being, such as meditation, exercise, or pursuing hobbies.
  5. Seek Support: Reach out to support systems, such as friends, family, or support groups, who can offer encouragement, accountability, and guidance on your mindful drinking journey. Professional counseling or therapy may also be beneficial.
  6. Track and Reflect: Keep a journal or use tracking apps to monitor your drinking habits. Reflect on your progress, triggers, and how alcohol affects your physical and emotional state. Adjust your approach as needed to align with your goals.

Remember, the goal of mindful drinking is to develop a healthy relationship with alcohol and find a balance that works for you. It is essential to listen to your body, prioritize your well-being, and make choices that align with your values and goals.


Binge drinking can have significant risks and consequences for both physical and mental health. It is important to differentiate between binge drinking and alcoholism, as well as to seek appropriate treatment if needed. For those who don’t drink often but when they do they binge, practicing mindful drinking and developing healthier habits can be an effective approach.

By setting goals, changing your environment, exploring alternatives, practicing self-care, seeking support, and tracking your progress, you can develop a more mindful and balanced approach to drinking. Remember, moderation is key, and prioritizing your overall well-being is paramount. Cheers to a healthier and more mindful relationship with alcohol!


WebMD- Alcohol Poisoning: Symptoms, Causes, Complications

Cleveland Clinic- Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms and Treatment

NHS- Alcohol Poisoning

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