How to Stop Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a common pattern of excessive alcohol consumption where people consume more than they should to get drunk on one occasion. Although it is not considered the same as alcoholism, it still poses a threat to your health and safety.

According to experts, taking 1 unit of alcohol per day to relax or enjoy your meal may have health benefits. This amount may be a bit more liberal for men, who are advised to limit their intake to 2-3 drinks per day. However, if you regularly exceed the recommended limits, you may later suffer from various health problems or even endanger your safety. Here are some tips on how to stop binge drinking and take control of your habits.

What Are the Signs of Binge Drinking?

When you consume a large amount of alcohol within a few hours with the intention of getting drunk, you are binge drinking. This pattern of behavior is common among young people, but even older adults sometimes tend to engage in this activity, too. It usually happens when there is a social event with friends or relatives, and alcohol is served in unlimited amounts. There is usually a feeling of enjoyment at being inebriated, which usually ends with people becoming merry and loud, but sometimes too drunk to drive home safely.

Check out these signs to see if you are into this habit, and later, we will show you how to stop binge drinking:

  • You are inclined to take your drinks quickly
  • You tend to drink more than you did before to feel buzzed
  • You are looking for that inebriated feeling
  • You find it hard to control drinking once you have started
  • You take more than what you intended
  • You lose track of how much you have consumed
  • You regularly drink more than the recommended consumption guidelines (1-2 drinks/day for women and 2-3 drinks/day for men)

How to Stop Binge Drinking

Be Honest

If you really want to change your behavior, the first step is to accept that you have an issue and you want to stop binge drinking.  

Form a Plan

Change usually does not happen overnight. But if you really want to change, you must have a plan. Ask yourself, do you want to cut back on your drinking or do you want to stop completely? Set your goals in small steps:

  • If you just want to cut back on drinking, plan on choosing the days when you will drink (for example, Fridays) and set aside the other days when you definitely will avoid drinking.
  • Set a definite limit on how much alcohol you are going to drink (for example, one glass of wine). Stick to this limit.
  • If you wish to stop drinking completely, seta deadline (for example, by the end of the month). Gradually reduce your drinking sprees and honor the deadline you have set.

Recognize Triggers

There are various factors that could tempt you to drink more than you intend. Maybe the presence of friends, good music or emotions make you want to drink more than just a couple of shots. It is important to recognize these triggers and avoid them:

  • Peer pressure. This is common, especially among young people, who usually want to look cool to fit in. If you have hard-partying friends who binge-drink all the time, you may need to excuse yourself from going out with them.
  • Stress. Some people drink alcohol to relieve stress. Think of other ways to relax, such as going out for a long walk or learning yoga instead of going to the bar.
  • Boredom. If you have nothing to do on a Friday night or you just want to liven up your regular activities, think of other healthy or productive activities like finding a new hobby or going to the movies with a friend to take your mind off drinking.

Slow Down

To limit your alcohol consumption, avoid gulping your drinks. Sip slowly and enjoy the company or the music. Drinking quickly can build up your tolerance to alcohol. You can also try to quench your thirst by first taking a long non-alcoholic drink, diluting your glass with more ice or tonic water and not staying at the bar.

Keep a Drinking Journal

Keeping a journal is one of the most effective ways of discovering how your behavior affects you. It may be the best answer as to how to stop binge drinking. Write honestly and regularly about what makes you drink, how much you consume, and how you feel about it. Keep track of the number of times you consumed alcohol in one week. Stay focused on what triggers your impulses and how you responded to them.

Find Support

Sometimes it may be difficult to change your behavior on your own. People around you can provide support to help you begin to know how to stop binge drinking.Ask them about if you can spend some time to talk with them when you feel stressed, bored or depressed. They must be willing to help you to avoid your drinking problem, so they must be friends or family members who do not need to drink just to have fun. To avoid exposure to alcohol, try to avoid places or social events where alcohol is used to entertain or drinking is the center of activity.

Keep Busy

Find other ways to relieve stress and boredom such as learning how to dance, talking with friends, or playing games, which do not involve social drinking. If you are in a situation where alcohol is being served, politely excuse yourself and chat with someone, or just leave and do something else to distract you from drinking.

Consult Your Doctor

Talk to your healthcare provider, a counselor or a psychiatrist if you need more help. They may be able to help you find better ways on how to stop binge drinkingif the self-help remedies mentioned above didn’t work.

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