What Is a Drug Binge?

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Binge drug use might seem like a fun way to relax, blow off steam, or celebrate an event, but often it proves very dangerous. Drug binges take a toll on anyone who engages in them, whether just occasionally or on a regular basis. 

Defining “Binge”

A drug binge can be difficult to define, owing to how many different kinds of narcotics are available. Generally speaking, it is defined as consuming a large quantity of drugs in a short amount of time. For example, someone abusing cocaine might not stop using it just once in the span of a few hours, but rather repeatedly consume it. Someone who abuses prescription drugs may take more than the prescribed dosage and more times per day than recommended.

Binge drinking is easier to define. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) breaks down binge drinking by gender. It defines binge drinking for males as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion or within a couple of hours of each other. For women, the number is four alcoholic drinks. These events occur at least once per month. 

It was reported in 2019 that 26% of adults 18 and over engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous month. The number was higher for men at 30% versus women at 22%. The same report stated that 14.5 million Americans ages 12 and older have alcohol use disorder. This number includes 414,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17. Sadly, only 7% of those in the 12 and over category received treatment for their addiction to alcohol. Within the adolescent group, about 6% received treatment. 

The Toll That Bingeing Takes

A lot of people who enjoy binge drinking and drug use kid themselves that nothing bad can come of it. Some don’t stop to consider if they can cause harm by making a habit of bingeing. Other acts that involve bingeing often leave a person with unhealthy side effects.

Someone who binge eats may end up feeling nauseous, vomiting, or experiencing a spike in their blood sugar. If they repeat the experience enough times, it can develop into an eating disorder. Even binge-watching your favorite new TV show can lead to loss of sleep, eye strain, and putting off tasks that need to be done. The old adage about doing “all things in moderation” remains popular for a good reason. 

Why People Engage in Binge Drinking and Drug Use

Often, people who partake in binge drinking and drug use chalks it up to be a one-time thing, or something they do now and again. When they experience the payoff, such as a reduction in stress or feeling less moody, it can quickly become a habit.

Many people who end up addicted to drugs or alcohol started out just bingeing on substances from time to time until it became uncontrollable. Once someone develops a substance use disorder, it most often takes professional help to stop. 

Approximately half of all people who have a substance use disorder also suffer from at least one mental illness. In many cases, the addiction developed from person using binge drinking and drug use to numb their mental health challenges. These mental illnesses can include:

While getting drunk or high might offer a way of avoiding discomfort, it is ultimately an unhealthy coping skill that can easily backfire. Someone who started out just trying to feel less depressed or experience fewer moments of discomfort may wind up adding addiction to their list of problems.

How to Get Help for Binge Drinking and Drug Use

When a person reaches the point where their binge drinking and drug use has become an addiction, it’s time to seek help. Treatment programs offer several options to help treat addiction, including detoxification, residential treatment, and outpatient programs. Many programs not only know how to treat substance use disorders but also help patients manage their co-occurring mental illnesses. 

When both addiction and mental health are addressed at the same time, a person’s chances of having success with both problems increases. When symptoms of mental illness are better managed, a person finds themselves less likely to feel compelled to engage in binge drinking and drug use. Likewise, when a person is working on recovery from addiction, they stop covering up their emotions with drugs and alcohol. This allows them to figure out what the underlying problems are and work on healing them with a licensed counselor. 

Addiction Treatment in California

Our treatment plans help young people move past addiction to drugs and alcohol and learn to love their new lives. Launch Centers provides detox and outpatient programs to help you embrace recovery and plan for a brighter future. Launch Centers is happy to answer any questions you may have about our program. For more information, contact us today.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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