Binge Drinking in Adults

Binge Drinking in Adults

According to the Center for Disease Control, “binge drinking accounts for more than half of the estimated 80,000 average annual deaths and three quarters of $223.5 billion in economic costs resulting from excessive alcohol consumption in the United States.” In their January 10, 2012 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report the CDC indicates that binge drinking is defined by prevalence (4.4 episodes per month) and intensity (7.9 – 9.3 drinks per episode). The CDC also reported the following statistics:

  • The highest prevalence and intensity were among persons aged 18–24 years
  • Respondents with household incomes less than or equal to $75,000 annually had the highest binge drinking prevalence (20.2%)
  • Those with household incomes less than $25,000 annually had the highest frequency (5.0 episodes per month) and intensity (8.5 drinks on occasion)
  • Binge drinking is reported by one in six U.S. adults

Getting Help to Stop Binge Drinking

If you believe that you are a binge drinker based on the information provided above, there are some steps that you can take to get your drinking under control. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Acknowledge the role of peer pressure—drinking is a social activity, however if your drinking is influenced by others, acknowledge this and take action. You might consider these steps:
    • Not drinking with people who encourage you to overindulge
    • Managing your consumption carefully
    • Suggest alternate activities that don’t involve drinking
    • Provide non-alcoholic options during social activities
  • There is more to life than alcohol—often people get into a habit of drinking because they don’t find an alternative activity. After a busy day at work, stopping by the local pub for a drink can become a pattern rather than a conscious choice. If you find that your car takes you to the bar, take back control and drive to a different spot. Now may be the best time to pack up your work-out clothes and head to the gym or to play basketball.
  • Limit your spending on alcohol—in today’s economic climate few people can recklessly spend money on non-essential items. Even if you are feeling financially secure, it makes sense to keep a budget to see how much you are spending on alcohol. Keep track for one month of your alcohol expenditures by keeping your credit card receipts or reviewing your debit card statement. Then challenge yourself to see if you can reduce the expense by 10% every following month.
  • Mix it up—if you do want to engage in social activities in a bar, there is no law that says that you have to drink alcohol. Start with a glass of water, iced tea, or a soda. Think about what makes you choose to switch from that beverage to an alcoholic one. Is it a habit, are you feeling pressured, are you trying to change your reality? If you find that you are using alcohol as a crutch, try doing without it.

Help with Binge Drinking

If you fear that you may be a binge drinker, learn more about this condition and how you can manage your alcohol consumption. We can provide you with information and support. Call our toll-free helpline any time; we are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about binge drinking. We are here to help.