According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), binge drinking is the most common and dangerous pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men — assuming the drinks are consumed within about two hours. Although most people who binge drink are not alcoholics, alcoholism is a progressive disease and binge drinking could lead to alcohol dependence over time.
Binge drinking carries serious health risks and can cause many health problems. The CDC reports that excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. The same report showed excessive drinking was responsible for one in 10 deaths among working adults aged 20-64 years.
Though binge drinkers consume in great quantity, they are typically not alcohol-dependent. While many rely on alcohol to relieve stress or to get over their social anxiety, this does not constitute alcohol dependence.
However, over time, binging can progress into a daily mental and physical need for alcohol. The health risks for heavy drinkers and alcoholics are very similar in danger and diagnosis.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction talk to a professional trained in diagnosing and treating the disease. At Valley Hope, experts are available to answer questions in complete confidence 24/7.
Unsure if you or someone close to you has a problem with alcohol? The signs are not always as obvious as you might think. How do you know for sure? The medical and counseling staff at Valley Hope can provide a professional evaluation and, if needed, recommendations for treatment. In the meantime, the CAGE questionnaire is a widely accepted self-assessment tool. If you answer “Yes” to just two or more of the questions, you may have a problem with addiction and should seek the help of a professional.
Take an online assessment now at valleyhope.org. If you feel like you or a loved one need help immediately, we’re here 24/7. Call (800) 544-5101.
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