If I Sometimes Binge on Alcohol, Am I Addicted?

While it is possible that an infrequent binge drinker may not yet be addicted to alcohol, intentionally drinking to the point of intoxication is among the fastest ways for the disease to develop. Alcoholism evolves gradually, and often by the time drinkers realize that they have a problem it is too late for them to quit on their own.

How Alcoholism Works

Excessive consumption of alcohol is defined as drinking more than two drinks per day (ten per week) for men or one drink per day (five per week) for women. While moderate drinking can be a pleasurable or even healthy part of life, drinking too much in one sitting or drinking slightly too much consistently over time can lead to serious problems. As the body metabolizes alcohol, it turns into dopamine in the brain. In small amounts this can create a mildly pleasurable feeling of relaxation, but too much dopamine causes a severe and debilitating level of euphoria. This eventually leads to two distinct, but related, types of addiction: physical and psychological.

When alcohol causes dopamine levels to spike, the brain will stop producing its own natural pain and mood managing chemicals. Over time the brain becomes dependent on alcohol to function normally. As the body builds a tolerance to alcohol, it takes more to achieve the desired feeling. Drinking increasing quantities of alcohol furthers the brain’s dependency on the substance.

The Risky Business of Bingeing on Alcohol

While even moderate to heavy use of alcohol on a daily basis can lead to alcohol dependency, binge drinking speeds up the process significantly. In addition to greatly increasing the likelihood of a life controlling addiction, binge drinking presents many other risks as well:

  • Binge drinkers lose their ability to resist urges or impulses and often engage in risky or even life threatening behavior including dangerous sexual activity
  • Binge drinkers are more likely to drive while intoxicated, as their mind is unable to comprehend their level of impairment
  • Binge drinkers are more likely to be the victims of crime
  • Binge drinking can easily lead to alcohol overdose or poisoning which can cause permanent brain damage, coma or even death

Important Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Use of Alcohol

Honest answers to the following questions may indicate whether you are at risk for becoming an alcoholic:

  • Do you frequently think about drinking, remembering the “good times” but not the consequences?
  • Have you ever engaged in any behavior while drinking that you would not have while sober?
  • When you start drinking, is it difficult to stop?
  • Have you found yourself neglecting previously important activities and relationships in favor of drinking?
  • Have you ever found yourself drinking due to stress, anxiety or other life problems?
    If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, your occasional binge drinking may have already become an addiction.

Call for Alcohol Abuse Help Today

Our toll-free helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our specially trained counselors can answer your questions about binge drinking and addiction and can confidentially suggest the best possible resources for your exact needs. Don’t risk your life on the temporary thrill of binge drinking. Call today.

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