How do you live with a binge drinker? What happens when you can’t stop him/her? This article discusses how to deal with and help a binge drinker.
If you live with a binge drinker and want to help him out of his self-destructive habits, here are some principles and strategies that might help.
Table of Contents
Understanding Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is defined by many experts as consuming alcohol in a pattern that produces a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams percent or above. This means roughly five drinks to a man and four to a woman in approximately two hours.
When you think of binge drinking, usually young adults, particularly college students, may spring to mind. But older people, particularly adults 65 or older, binge drink.
Did you know that one in every 6 adults in the U.S. binge drinks at least four times a month? A person who drinks excessively while young is also at high risk of continuing this behavior into adulthood and developing an alcohol use disorder.
Young individuals, particularly college students, may come to mind when thinking about binge drinking.
However, older folks, particularly those aged 65 and up, binge drink as well. In the United States, one out of every six adults binges drinks at least four times every month.
A young individual who drinks excessively is at a higher risk of continuing the behavior into adulthood and developing an AUD.
Binge Drinking Vs. Alcoholism: What’s The Difference?
Binge drinking can be categorized as a drug use problem in the same way that alcoholism is. Between a substance use disorder and binge drinking, some distinctions are to be made.
Binge drinking is defined by the NIAAA as consuming enough alcohol in a short period to raise the drinker’s blood alcohol concentration to.08 or above. This equates to four drinks for women and five drinks for males over two hours.
Alcoholism, on the other hand, isn’t determined by the amount of alcohol consumed. Alcoholism is defined by an inability to manage drinking, increasing tolerance for alcohol, and the continued consumption of alcohol despite unfavorable consequences.
While some binge drinkers may develop an addiction to alcohol, this is not the case for everyone. Indeed, some binge drinkers may consume excessive amounts of alcohol on weekends but can go the entire week without drinking.
Binge Drinking: What Causes It?
Why do people overindulge in alcohol? It’s sometimes due to peer pressure or a desire to feel less anxious or awkward in social situations.
Young people may feel forced to binge drink at seasonal events like prom or a sporting event. However, some people binge drink alone to disguise their behavior from their loved ones.
Over time, a history of binge drinking can cause lasting damage to regions of the brain that control how you perceive pleasure and exercise self-control.
These modifications make it more challenging to say no to alcohol, which can momentarily alleviate feelings of melancholy, worry, fear, rage, or guilt.
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Living With A Binge Drinker: What To and Not To Do?
Drinking is a common occurrence for many both men and women. It is legal and socially acceptable for an adult to consume alcoholic beverages in most places.
However, since the effects of alcohol vary so widely from person to person, it can be challenging to identify whether a loved one’s alcohol consumption has passed the line from responsible, social drinking to alcohol abuse.
There is no set threshold for someone diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Instead, it’s defined by how drinking affects the life of someone you care about.
Suppose you notice signs that your loved one has an alcohol problem. In that case, the first step in assisting them is to educate yourself about addiction and alcohol abuse.
You will be ready to talk to your loved ones about their drinking and offer the support and resources they require once you’ve explored all of the numerous sorts of therapy and self-help alternatives available to them.
Talk With Them About Their Drinking Habits
It’s challenging to approach someone about their drinking. You may be concerned that expressing your concerns will cause the other person to become enraged, defensive, lash out, or simply deny the fact that they have a problem.
In reality, all of these are typical replies. But that isn’t an excuse to remain silent. Your loved one’s drinking is unlikely to improve on its own; in fact, it’s more likely to worsen unless you intervene.
While it’s vital to be upfront and honest about your worries, keep in mind that you can’t make someone quit drinking.
You can’t make someone quit drinking, no matter how much you want to and how difficult it is to see. It is up to them to make the decision.
You can, however, provide them with options for dealing with their situation, such as phoning a hotline, speaking with a doctor or therapist, enrolling in treatment, or attending a support group.
Remember, timing is everything. Go for a time when your loved one isn’t drinking, and both of you are calm and focused.
Choose a quiet, private location where you won’t be disturbed. Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode and other electronic devices to avoid distractions.
Relax and be cool, and convey your worries in a kind manner. Tell your loved one about your concerns about their drinking and the impact it’s having on their health, your relationship, and the entire family.
Rather than passing judgment or attempting to shame your loved one, try to remain neutral and compassionate.
Expect rebuttals and denials. Remember that pointing out a person’s flaw does not always result in a positive outcome, so don’t take any harsh responses personally.
It may take several efforts to start a genuine dialogue about your loved one’s drinking with them. Gift them the time and space to process your concerns and perceive the problem themselves.
Most crucial, don’t make excuses or cover up for your loved one’s bad behavior. Attempting to shelter them from their responsibilities would only prevent them from seeing the destructive repercussions of their drinking, potentially delaying their decision to seek treatment.
Encouraging A Loved One To Seek Assistance
Expect your loved one to not be able to conquer a drinking issue independently. Even if they don’t need medical supervision to safely withdraw, they’ll still require help, advice, and new coping skills to quit or reduce their drinking.
Remember that your responsibility as a caregiver does not end when your loved one agrees to get help. Recovery is a long-term process that takes time and patience to complete.
When someone abuses alcohol, they will not magically transform into someone else once sober.
In fact, they’ll be confronted with a slew of new obstacles. They’ll have to find new methods to live without alcohol and address the issues of why they are drinking in the first place.
They can get there, though, with your continued love and support.
Assisting The Healing Of A Loved One
It can be a long, bumpy, winding road to recovery from alcoholism or a drinking problem.
Approximately half of those who complete alcohol misuse treatment for the first time remain alcohol-free, whereas the other half relapse and begin drinking again at some point.
It’s not uncommon for people to undergo therapy multiple times before achieving sobriety. That implies you’ll need a lot of patience to help your loved one get better.
Self-Care Is Important.
Dealing with someone, especially an alcoholic loved one, can be an emotional rollercoaster that harms your health, perspective, and well-being. You must stay safe, look after your health, and seek your required help.
Do not attempt to deal with this on your own. It’s critical to have someone you can communicate openly and honestly about your problems.
Trusted friends, a support group, members of your spiritual community, or your own coach can help.
If you’re not sure if you or a loved one has a drinking problem or is at risk of becoming an alcoholic, professionals like Michaela Weaver can help.
The Alcohol Coach is a caring and knowledgeable clinical team that can assist you in understanding the dangers of your drinking.
We will meet you wherever you are on this journey and help you discover your own path to health and wellness.
Whether you have a drinking problem, just want to get back on track, or need an unbiased opinion, we will meet you where you are on this journey and help you discover your own path to health and wellness.
If you’re seeking help cutting back on or quitting drinking, online our expert coaching programs are here for you. The Alcohol Coach can help.
Please note: Although we refer to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘recovery’ in our articles, this is because these terms are often used by others.
The Alcohol Coach services come from a viewpoint of empowerment, mindset shift and high powered transformational change. Then this happens there are no lifelong labels, no counting days, and pure unbounded freedom and discovery!
Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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