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.
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:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
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.