Binge drinking and alcohol addiction are alcohol-related problems that are often used interchangeably but represent different concepts. They both come about as a result of consuming alcohol, and drinking it does not equal being a binge drinker or alcoholic.
Understanding the difference between binge drinking and alcohol addiction is critical to find the appropriate alcohol recovery plan. Below are the main differences between each of these drinking habits.
Defining Binge Drinking
It is defined as a drinking pattern that gets your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) TO 0,8%, meaning that per 100 milliliters of blood, you have 80 milligrams of alcohol in your bloodstream. A binge drinker drinks quickly, and the body’s organs cannot get rid of it, causing the blood alcohol concentration to rise hence becoming drunk.
It is estimated that men take five drinks and women take four drinks in about two hours or less, which often happens at parties, weddings, graduations, etc. Binge drinking is often in young adults between 18 and 34. Even though binge drinkers enjoy heavy drinking, they are not physically dependent on these drinks and can go for days or weeks without them.
Effects of Binge Drinking
Drinking within a short time is dangerous to your health and has immediate side effects and long-term. Some of the most common psychological, social and physical effects include:
- Unintentional injuries like falls, burns, and car crashes
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Violent behavior
- Memory and learning problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Anxiety and depression
Binge drinking can lead to substance dependency because when done regularly, the body can tolerate more. It is easy to treat this problem because one is not yet addicted to it.
It is commonly known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) and is a chronic disease affecting many people with their friends and family. Regular drinking makes the brain begin associating alcoholic drinks with sensations like relaxation, loss of inhibitions, and euphoria.
People suffering from this addiction depend on it, making alcohol recovery a long process. They cannot fully function without it and spend a lot of time thinking about it. Alcoholism is a chronic condition that affects both the body and the brain. People with alcohol addiction experience withdrawal symptoms hours or days after their last drink. You may check how long do alcohol withdrawals last to know the severity of alcohol withdrawal.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Just like binge drinking, alcoholism comes with so many social, health, and physical consequences. Consuming more and more alcoholic drinks does not give your body a chance to heal and has many effects. Some of these effects are
- Kidney damage
- Heart problems
- Liver problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Loss of jobs, family, and friends
- Financial difficulties
- Brain defects
- Impaired vision, judgment, and memory
Treatment for Binge Drinking and Alcohol Addiction
It is easier to treat binge drinking than alcoholism because a binge drinker does not need a vigorous alcohol recovery plan like an alcoholic. Treatment for a binge drinker requires sessions with an addiction treatment counselor, joining a support group, and complementary therapy sessions, and often, there is no need for outside intervention.
Alcoholism requires more structured treatment, with many treatment options like inpatient and outpatient. Most alcoholism treatments include detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare programs.
Binge drinking and alcohol addictions are conditions that involve the abuse of alcohol and harm a person’s finances, body, and relationships. However, comparing the two, alcohol addiction is more severe, and anyone suffering from it should check into a recovery center.