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Binge Drinking: Risks, Side effects, Treatment options and More

Medically reviewed by

Written by Ankith Sagar

Drinking alcohol is a common social practice in our society. People often drink to celebrate  success, happiness and some even resort to drinking to deal with problems in their life. However, when this behaviour blurs the line between casual drinking to behaviour that disrupts life, it can be seen as alcoholism. Alcoholism can manifest in several ways and binge drinking is one of them.

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is the practice of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short duration of time. Binge drinking or abusing alcohol over long periods of time leads to severe health complications. It can also lead to a serious lack of judgement and lead to crime, violence, accidents, etc.

‍Why do people binge drink?

According to research studies, there is a notable increase in the number of binge drinkers every year. But what makes an individual binge drink? Binge drinking is often resorted to by the youth and they see it as a way to temporarily escape their problems and lower inhibitions. However, the problem is that the effects of binge drinking can often be permanent and lead to lifelong health complications.

Binge Drinking signs and symptoms

Here are a few signs of binge drinking disorder: 

  • Become detached from society, family and friends
  • Lack of control over drinking
  • Drinking alone
  • Missing work due to hangovers
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Neglecting your appearance and health.
  • Blackouts
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety and Depression

Risks of Binge Drinking Behaviour

It is especially unfortunate when you engage in this pattern of drinking as you have a lot to lose. Research shows that people who are involved in heavy drinking risk permanent and severe damage to brain functions. Excessive alcohol has the ability to interfere with a critical phase of the development of young brains. Memory loss, a common factor of alcoholism, can extend into adulthood due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Binge drinkers of all ages suffer the highest risk of alcohol-related injuries. 

The other negative health effects associated with binge drinking disorder are: 

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Neurological damage
  • Chronic difficulties. 

Too much alcohol consumption can also lead to abuse and dependence. Many studies have highlighted that the risks of developing these issues are greater for youth and young adults.  

The majority of young adults who binge drink in their 20s are most likely to binge drink in their 40s too. If you would take stock of your drinking patterns and make the decision to drink wisely and moderately, you would save yourself from a lot of grief in your later years. 

Short Term Effects and Long Term Effects of Binge Drinking.

The short-term effects of binge drinking are significant:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Dangers of miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women.
  • Injuries including vehicle crashes, falls, drownings or burns
  • Violent or suicidal behaviors are often observed as well.

The long-term effects of binge drinking are both physical and social:

  • Alcohol Addiction and its effects.
  • Risk of Cancer.

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  • Depression
  • Family problems
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke

Most people who binge drink do not have a severe alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder consists of a pattern of drinking that involves the inability to limit consumption, being preoccupied with alcohol and continuing to drink despite associated problems. It’s important to address alcohol use disorder early with treatment.

How Does Binge Drinking Affect Teens?

Young people are at greater risk of alcohol-related harm than adults. As the brain keeps developing into the mid-twenties, drinking alcohol as a teenager can greatly increase the risk of damage to the developing brain. It can also lead to problems with alcohol later in life.

In the 2017 report on Australian Secondary School Students’ Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Over-the-Counter rugs, and illicit substances, around 5% of Australian secondary school students drank more than 4 drinks on one day in the previous 7 days.

Common effects of binge drinking include:

  • hangovers
  • headaches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shakiness.

As well as increasing the risk of short and longer-term health problems, binge drinking can lead to young adults taking risks and putting themselves in dangerous situations. 

Drink driving and other risky behaviours increase the risk of alcohol-related harm.

How do I stop binge drinking?

If you suffer from binge drinking and want to stop, there are various methods you could try. While the overall effectiveness of these steps heavily depends on the individual's ability to control their drinking. 

Here are some ways you can stop binge drinking:

  • Alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water
  • Eating before drinking, you are less likely to drink vast amounts of alcohol on a full stomach
  • Avoid mixing alcoholic drinks
  • Stick to low alcohol beverages
  • Address the causes of your alcohol binges, i.e see the appropriate professional (counsellor, doctor or therapist)
  • Avoid spending time with other heavy drinkers.
  • Avoid games that involve alcohol
  • Only take a certain amount of money out with you, just enough to buy a few drinks

It has been medically proven that those that suffer from an alcohol use disorder metabolise and react to alcohol very differently from others. 

Once anyone consumes one or two drinks of alcohol, they invariably lose control of the amount of alcohol they drink and end up binge drinking. Alcoholism only ever gets progressively worse over time, without treatment.

Thankfully, alcohol use disorders and binge drinking, whilst very serious, can be effectively treated and managed!

For a person that suffers from an alcohol use disorder, the only cure for binge drinking that has been found to work in the long term is complete and continued abstinence from alcohol.

Binge Drinking Treatment: Getting Professional Help

It is vital to know that prevention plays an essential role in reducing the number of binge drinkers. Knowing the harmful effects of drinking and seeking instant help for the same would be the first step to recovery.

If you start to notice a few of these signs in yourself or someone you care about, it is time to take charge of the situation. This is when it becomes essential to look at the suitable options available to the alcoholic consumer who wants to change their pattern. Professional help is definitely needed for binge drinking disorder. Most people may even try to stop and perhaps do for a short while, only to fall back into the same patterns or binge drinking and alcohol abuse. 

Today, there are binge drinking treatment options available that offer people the necessary tools that they may have lacked earlier which pushed them to excessive drinking habits. Tools for learning, tools for having better relationships and getting along with others, confronting life’s issues, communicating and deciding one’s own future. Tools to prevent further relapses. Moreover, these tools may include therapies, counselling, medication and relaxation techniques.

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Why should I trust Cadabam's Anunitha?

Our team of psychiatrists comprises experts in psychosocial rehabilitation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)), Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), and family-focused therapy that has proven to be highly effective in treating alcohol dependence. We have over two decades of expertise in handling the most complex and severe cases of Alcoholism.  

We are widely trusted by various healthcare experts to provide addiction relief with care and love. Our drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, Anunitha is a comfortable facility with state-of-the-art infrastructure where we provide a holistic treatment plan for addiction recovery. We develop personalised treatment options to ensure steady rehabilitation and equip the family members or caregivers with adequate tips to assist in their loved ones’ recovery journey. 

Call us on our de-addiction helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details on getting alcohol treatment in India or Alcoholism related emergencies. 

Disclaimer – We strive to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity. We understand that addiction is a disease and not a sign of weakness. The term alcoholic or alcoholism is used not in a derogatory fashion but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. In case you or a loved are struggling with alcohol abuse and share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at

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