Many people have a “work hard, play hard” attitude toward drinking. They may drink very little or not at all during the week, then binge on the weekends. They often feel like this is a way of relaxing after a hard week. Typically, weekend drinkers don’t think of themselves as having an alcohol use issue. For most people, that brings to mind someone who drinks every day, heavily, and gets the shakes if he doesn’t have his morning beer. However, weekend drinking can still be problem drinking. Here’s why.
Having a problem means you can’t stop.
For most people with an alcohol use disorder, the problem is not that they need a drink every minute of the day; the problem is that if they start drinking, they can’t stop. This is why many programs, such as AA, emphasize strict abstinence. If you can’t stop after your first drink, that’s a serious problem, even if you only drink one or two nights a week.
Binge drinking can cause alcohol poisoning.
More than 2200 Americans die every year of alcohol poisoning. That’s about six every day. Drinking too much too quickly suppresses the part of your brain that controls breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, which can be fatal. It is also possible to choke on your own vomit. If you’re in the habit of binge drinking, you are at greater risk for alcohol poisoning. If you drink enough at once, it hardly matters whether you only drink on weekends.
Binge drinking can lead to accidents.
There are about 88,000 alcohol related deaths every year in the US, including car wrecks. Alcohol impairs your prefrontal cortex and your cerebellum, which are responsible for judgment and coordination, respectively. As a result, you are far more accident prone. It only takes one very bad decision to alter the course of your life.
Binge drinking can lead to blackouts.
Another area of your brain alcohol affects strongly is the hippocampus, part of the brain that turns short-term memories into long-term memories. When you hippocampus is out of commission, you can no longer remember anything that happens for more than a few minutes until your blood alcohol content falls back to a certain level. This is especially common when blood alcohol content rises quickly, as it does during binge drinking. You may not remember how you got home or much else from the night before. Frequent blackout are a red flag for problem drinking.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848