Triggers to Binge Drinking

There are certain times in our lives that we are more prone to binge drinking. Someone struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism should be especially aware of these times and avoid them or find a way to manage their urge to drink.

Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams or above. About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks, and binge drinking can be responsible for accidents, injury, alcohol poisoning, and liver disease, among other things. (1)

The situations listed below are kinds of triggers that for some people, mean it’s time to start binge drinking. There are many other triggers that are specific to individual people, but these situations happen in most everyone’s life and cause many people to drink.

A night out with friends. Even though we claim peer pressure is a teenage thing, it really can still affect us our entire life. A fun night out with friends is often a time to drink. Even moderately responsible individuals can be tempted to binge drink when out enjoying time with good friends.

After a stressful day. We are really good at feeling entitled to do things to make us happy. If we suffer through something, we want to reward ourselves. If we feel hurt or wronged, we want to make ourselves feel better. We’re not always good at handling stress and problems in a healthy way. Many of us, instead of relaxing after a hard day in a healthy way, will have a drink or two. When done in moderation this may not be harmful, but for someone prone to alcohol abuse or who is an alcoholic, drinking away one’s stress can be dangerous.

Being alone. Being alone can have negative consequences on us. There are times when having some peace and quiet are welcome. However, if someone must spend time alone when they don’t want to, it can be a risky time, because loneliness can make us do things we wouldn’t normally do. We might self-medicate our cares away by drinking. The problem with this situation is that there is no one around to see what we are doing or to stop us, and the result is that lonely drinking can be more damaging.

Family gatherings. People may joke about how hard it is to spend time with family, but for many families this is very true. Even anticipating a family get together can drive some people to drink, because of the stress and dysfunction this time can bring. Other people wait until they are at a family gathering and then negative interactions with family members can cause them to drink.

Binge drinking can cause injury or death, and should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol abuse, consider getting help.

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