Binge drinking is a serious health problem in the United States. It is one of the most common, costly, and deadly form of excessive alcohol use in the country. According to the CDC, one in six adults binge drinks about four times a month.
By definition, binge drinking means consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks for women. While many people see it as a harmless activity, it can lead to violence, memory problems, addiction, and heart disease. Not only that, it can result in drunk driving, unsafe sex, or alcohol poisoning.
There are a number of ways you can take to avoid binge drinking:
- Set a Drinking Goal
Whenever you start drinking, try setting a limit that meets physician-recommended guidelines. In general, women of all ages and men over 65 should consume no more than one standard drink in a day. Men under the age of 65 shouldn’t drink more than two standard drinks in a day.
- Track Drinking Patterns
Monitoring your drinking patterns and comparing them with your goal may be helpful to make adjustments when needed.
- Drink Slowly
Instead of drinking alcohol quickly, you could try sipping it. Even better, you can try drinking a nonalcoholic beverage, like soda or juice.
- Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can be a major factor that causes people to drink when they otherwise wouldn’t. It is important to not let anyone pressure you into drinking, and definitely don’t binge drink just to fit in.
- Keep Busy
Hobbies are a good way to avoid drinking. Find a hobby you enjoy and fill more of your time engaging in it. You could take walks, watch movies, read books, play sports, and so on.
- Avoid Temptations
Avoid people and places that promote binge drinking. During the holidays, vacations, or social functions, it’s important to create plans to limit your alcohol use.
- Enlist Support
Don’t overlook the importance of friends, family, or physicians; they may be of great help in refraining from binge drinking and they may also be able to offer valuable advice and encouragement.
- Seek Treatment
Although most people who binge drink don’t suffer from alcohol dependence, a lot of times it progresses into alcoholism. If you have a binge drinking problem, don’t hesitate to seek help from a rehab facility.
As with all things, persistence is very important in preventing binge drinking. Setbacks are nothing out of the ordinary and you may, on occasion, slip into binge drinking, but avoiding the activity could help you steer clear of a lot of physical and mental health problems.
Mindfulness Techniques Could Help Reduce Binge Drinking in College
According to the Monitoring the Future survey, an annual report funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 32% of college students engage in binge drinking. However, researchers at Ohio University have found that mindfulness could reduce binge drinking among college students.
For the study, researchers recruited 76 college students who had engaged in binge drinking within the previous two weeks. Half of them engaged a mindfulness program which involved listening to guided meditations and they learned techniques to use when viewing tempting images of alcohol.
Over the next month, those engaging in the program were asked to meditate on their own for an hour each week, in addition to the guided meditations. The participants who did not engage in the program, on the other hand, were told to just control their urges when presented with images of alcohol.
A month later, students in the mindfulness program binge drank an average of 2.6 times fewer than the other group. They did not experience consequences of drinking, such as violence and withdrawal, and they stood a higher chance than the others to refuse alcohol when they had access to it.