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How Can I Stop Binge Drinking?

Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy on 5/10/23

According to the CDC, nearly one in six adults is a binge drinker. Drinking habits aren’t just personal choices; they’re influenced by cultural norms, traditions, and the social environments we find ourselves in.

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“…binge drinking was found to be a common and severe problem with deleterious consequences in multiple domains of functioning.” (Robin, et. al.)

If you find yourself unable to control your drinking habits, there is hope. We offer a treatment program that doesn’t require you to stop drinking alcohol immediately. Alcohol has seriously negative effects on your brain and body, so the sooner you can quit, the sooner you can recover. 

Taking the first step towards treatment can break the cycle and pave the way for a healthier life. Our alcohol detox program ensures a safer recovery journey. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate—recovery is within reach.

Ardu is such a warming place to be. Staff genuinely cares about each other and the clients, they check in frequently and always try to make sure clients are getting the most out of the experience.

Melanie Ogden


What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking is the rapid consumption of large quantities of alcohol in a short span of time during a single occasion, leading to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For women, this usually involves consuming four or more drinks within approximately two hours. For men, it entails having five or more drinks within the same time frame.

People who binge drink might start off thinking they’re in control. Over time, their capacity for drinking increases, leading them to seek even more alcohol to achieve the same effects. 

While there isn’t a specific alcoholic personality per se, frequent binge drinking can be symptomatic of a larger alcohol addiction.

How common is binge drinking?

Binge drinking is frighteningly common.

According to the latest data from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 60 million people have engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported in 2019 that “25.8 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.” 

That’s a lot of people binge drinking. If you’re among them, there’s time to leave the crowd and forge your own path to freedom.

What are the dangers of binge drinking?

Binge drinking has widespread consequences to your health, your social life, and your finances. 

Health consequences

A nine-year study found that binge drinking disrupts thiamine (Vitamin B1) levels. Thiamine is essential for many bodily functions. 

People who binge drink often have poor dietary habits and alcohol further hampers nutrient absorption. The onslaught of alcohol overwhelms the liver, creating a cascading effect. 

The misuse of alcohol leads to a wider range of health issues than any other addictive substance. Potential health consequences include:

  • Risk of alcohol poisoning
  • Harmful to the brain, negatively affects memory, cognition, and attention
  • Harmful to the liver; increased risk of liver diseases such as cirrhosis
  • Increased risk of alcohol-induced kidney disease
  • Increased risk of cancer from alcohol
  • Increased risk of cirrhosis of the liver
  • Increase risk of gastrointestinal complications: gastritis, ulcers, and more.
  • Elevate the potential for alcohol-related cardiovascular problems, including hypertension, heart disease, failure, and stroke.
  • Induce neurological problems like peripheral neuropathy, causing muscle weakness, impaired coordination, and possible fall-related injuries.
  • Increased risk of skin issues such as aging, dehydrated skin, flushing, reduced elasticity, and dryness.

Social consequences

Excessive alcohol consumption endangers not only the person drinking but also those around them. Social fallout from binge drinking may include the following:

  • Increased likelihood of violent behaviors, such as assault (or being the victim of assault).
  • Increased likelihood to commit sexual assault (or become the victim of sexual assault).
  • Elevated risk of engaging in unsafe sexual practices, leading to sexually transmitted infections and unintentional pregnancies.
  • Tendency to isolate to hide drinking, leading to a shrinking of one’s social circle.
  • Tendency to associate with other binge drinkers, making it harder to stop the pattern due to social pressure.
  • Tendency to lie about the extent to which one drinks (how frequently, how many drinks) out of embarrassment.
  • Increased anxiety, irritability, and stress, leading to frayed relationships with loved ones.
  • Financial stress from poor work performance, funds spent on alcohol that could have been spent elsewhere.

Binge drinking is a strong indicator of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). If you are uncomfortable with the amount of binge drinking you engage in, it’s time to get help. Contact Ardu Recovery Center and talk through your options with one of our caring specialists. 

The dangers of binge drinking while pregnant

Binge drinking is dangerous for a pregnant woman and an even greater risk to her unborn child. Binge drinking during pregnancy can lead to the following tragic outcomes:

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): Binge drinking is especially likely to cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other FASDs, leading to lifelong physical, mental, and behavioral impairments.
  • Abnormal facial features in the child, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum).
  • Chronic diseases of the heart, kidneys, and bones in the child.
  • Learning disabilities, including speech and language delays, in the child
  • Premature birth: drinking heavily increases the chances of early labor and underweight babies.
  • Miscarriage: binge drinking raises the risk of losing the pregnancy.
  • Stillbirth: heavy alcohol use makes stillbirth more likely.
  • Mother’s health: intoxication harms mom’s health and can even be life-threatening.

Drinking any amount of alcohol when pregnant is inadvisable. Recurrent binge drinking magnifies the dangers. If you need help cutting back or quitting drinking, contact us today. Our caring staff provides compassionate, personalized support to pregnant women seeking a healthy pregnancy.

Do I have a problem with alcohol addiction?

If you binge drink regularly, there’s a high probability that you either struggle with alcohol addiction or are on your way to developing alcohol addiction. 

The stages of alcoholism ramp up gradually, so it’s difficult to accurately assess your own level of addiction. 

Here are some of the signs of alcohol addiction that you can watch for:

  • You struggle to control how much you drink
  • You feel  a strong desire to drink, despite trying to cut back
  • You have cravings for alcohol
  • You neglect responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • You continue to drink even when it’s causing problems in your personal or professional life
  • You prioritize drinking over relationships, work, or hobbies
  • You increasingly need more alcohol to achieve the same buzz, or you feel less effect from the same amount
  • You encounter alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea or tremors, when you quit drinking
  • You participate in hazardous behaviors while under the influence, such as drunk driving or risky sexual behavior
  • You experience emotional difficulties directly linked to alcohol use
  • You lie about your drinking
  • You avoid certain people in your life out of embarrassment of how much you drink

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to assess your drinking habits:

  1. Do I find myself drinking more than I initially planned?
  2. Has anyone in your my suggested that I should reduce my drinking?
  3. Do I need to consume more alcohol to feel the same effects I once did from fewer drinks?
  4. Do I feel embarrassed or ashamed of my drinking?
  5. Do I need to drink to feel OK about myself?
  6. Have I tried to quit and faced serious withdrawal symptoms?
  7. Is alcohol causing problems in my personal or professional relationships?
  8. Have I ever acted unsafely or irresponsibly while drinking?

The more of these you answer “yes” to, the more likely it is that you have a serious problem with alcohol. 

How can I quit binge drinking?

If you want to stop binge drinking (and you should want to!), be careful about trying it at home. While some can be successful, alcohol withdrawal syndrome can make life a living hell for other people.

If you need help, our alcoholic detox program can help you get over the withdrawal stage, and our alcohol rehab can help you rewire your patterns, body, and brain for an addiction-free life. 

Here are some specific recommendations:

  • Seek professional help. Getting treatment and counseling support increases your chances of successfully quitting binge drinking. Contact Ardu to start personalized care.
  • Avoid triggers. Stay away from people, places, and situations that make you want to binge drink. This may mean finding new social activities.
  • If you’re going to drink, count and space out your drinks, ideally waiting at least 15 minutes between each.
  • Consume water or food while drinking; this helps in controlling alcohol consumption.
  • Identify alternative coping mechanisms. Find healthy ways to manage stress and difficult emotions without drinking alcohol. Exercising, meditating, journaling, or speaking with a counselor can help.
  • Remove alcohol from your home. Eliminating access to alcohol reduces temptation to drink it. Ask friends and family not to drink around you.
  • Pursue sobriety support. Joining a sobriety community provides camaraderie and peer support from others battling alcohol misuse. Consider an Alcoholics Anonymous group.
  • Explore medication options. Medications like naltrexone can curb cravings and support abstinence. Talk to your doctor about whether this could help you.
  • Consider residential treatment. If outpatient support is not enough, inpatient rehab provides 24/7 structured care to establish sobriety habits.
  • Believe in yourself. Quitting binge drinking is challenging but very possible, especially with the right help and determination. We believe in you. Contact Ardu to start your binge drinking recovery journey today.
  • Make a plan to quit. Set specific goals and visualize them.
  • Monitor your drinking behavior to better understand your habits. Be honest with yourself.
  • Reach out to loved ones for emotional support and accountability.
  • Consider in-person or online therapy and counseling for underlying emotional issues that may be driving you to binge drink.

How can Ardu Recovery Center help me?

At Ardu Recovery Center, we understand that the journey to quit binge drinking is unique for each patient. That’s why we offer a range of detox programs to meet varying needs. You can choose between inpatient and outpatient programs based on the severity of your addiction and your lifestyle requirements.

Your first 7 to 10 days are the toughest, marking the acute phase of alcohol detox. During this critical period, you’ll need the most support, and that’s where Ardu steps in.  Our skilled medical professionals are dedicated to providing you with the personalized care you need to navigate this challenging time successfully. 

  • We offer a safe and comfortable outpatient treatment program that allows you to receive treatment while still living at home. This program provides the necessary support and resources to help you overcome binge drinking and develop healthier habits.
  • For those requiring a higher level of care, we offer an inpatient treatment program. This means staying at our spa-like addiction treatment center for a fixed period. With 24/7 support and medical care, this program is especially beneficial for people facing severe addiction.
  • We utilize therapeutic techniques and a holistic approach to address the underlying causes of binge drinking. Through therapy, counseling for alcohol misuse, and other evidence-based practices, we help you understand and manage the triggers and behaviors associated with binge drinking.
  • We have a team of highly trained and compassionate addiction specialists dedicated to supporting you throughout the recovery process. They provide personalized care and guidance, ensuring you receive the attention and support needed to quit binge drinking.
  • We offer ongoing support through the recovery process, helping you stay motivated and committed to your sobriety goals. We provide resources, counseling for alcohol misuse, and access to support groups to help you maintain your progress and prevent relapse.

At Ardu Recovery Center, we will help you quit binge drinking and achieve a healthier, more fulfilling life free from the negative consequences of alcohol addiction.

What happens after I complete treatment at Ardu Recovery Center?

After completing treatment at Ardu Recovery Center, you’ll be on a journey of sustained recovery from alcohol use disorder, enabling you to regain control of your life and make healthier choices. This improved lifestyle will positively impact your physical and mental health, help rebuild trust in your relationships, and unlock opportunities to achieve personal goals that may have been hindered by addiction.

Here are some tips for how to sustain your addiction-free life after Ardu:

  • Attend support groups. Joining support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery can provide ongoing support, guidance, and a sense of community with others who are also on the journey to recovery.
  • Consider ongoing counseling. Continuing therapy or counseling for alcohol misuse sessions can offer additional guidance and support in maintaining sobriety. These sessions can help patients develop coping mechanisms, manage stress, and address any underlying issues that may contribute to alcohol addiction.
  • Develop healthy coping strategies. Learning healthy coping mechanisms is crucial in maintaining long-term sobriety. This can include practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy, and finding healthy ways to manage stress and emotions.

Also, our aftercare program can help prevent relapses and promote your long-term recovery

Read more about our simple admissions process.

Binge drinking FAQ

Is binge drinking once a week ok?

Binge drinking once a week is not considered safe or healthy. Binge drinking can lead to a range of negative consequences, including increased risk of alcohol-related problems. Studies show that if you drink all your weekly alcohol in one night, you’re much more likely to have health issues than if you spread it out. So, even if you don’t drink the rest of the week, that binge drinking in one night can still cause a lot of harm.

How can binge drinking be reduced?

There are several strategies that can help you reduce binge drinking. These include:

  • Avoid drinking alone and alcoholic drinks with others in a social setting.
  • Be aware that the alcohol content of drinks can vary, especially in bar and restaurant servings.
  • Change the environment to avoid drinking triggers.
  • Keep a list of reasons to cut down on drinking.
  • Analyze social circles that provide alcoholic drinks.
  • Explore healthy coping mechanisms like meditation.
  • Seek support from family and friends.
  • Develop a mindful drinking plan.
  • Track your alcohol consumption.
  • Plan for heavy drinking holidays.
  • Opt for non-alcoholic drink alternatives like mocktails.
  • Join a recovery group or program at Ardu.

Is a binge drinker an alcoholic?

Binge drinking does not necessarily mean someone is an alcoholic. Binge drinking is characterized by consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period, while alcoholism, or later on can develop into alcohol use disorder (AUD), which involves a pattern of problematic alcohol use that leads to significant impairment or distress. Nonetheless, frequent binge drinking can be a red flag for future alcohol-related issues and should not be ignored.

Is binge drinking worse than daily drinking?

Both binge drinking and daily drinking can have negative health consequences. Binge drinking is associated with acute harms such as accidents, injuries, and alcohol poisoning, while daily drinking can lead to long-term health issues such as liver damage, addiction, and chronic diseases. Any excessive alcohol consumption carries risks, and moderation is key to maintaining good health.

Rather than debating which is worse, it’s better to consider what amount of alcohol is safe for you. According to CDC guidelines, moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and two for men. However, some health conditions and medications make any alcohol consumption risky.

How long does it take your liver to recover from a night of drinking?

Every time you drink, some of your liver cells die in the process of filtering the alcohol. The liver’s ability to recover from alcohol consumption varies depending on factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, individual metabolism, and overall liver health. 

Generally, it takes about an hour for the liver to metabolize one standard drink. However, the liver’s capacity for recovery is not infinite. Engaging in regular heavy or binge drinking can lead to cumulative damage over time.

Over the long term, this could cause severe, and possibly permanent, harm to your liver. That’s why it’s crucial to drink responsibly and seek medical advice for a personalized liver health plan.

What is the psychology of a binge drinker?

The psychology of a binge drinker can vary from person to person. Binge drinking can be influenced by social pressures, stress, emotional issues, and a desire for escape or self-medication. 

Binge drinking can have underlying psychological and emotional implications and may be a sign of alcohol-related problems. Seeking professional help and support can be beneficial in addressing the psychological aspects of binge drinking and promoting healthier and effective strategies.

Can binge drinking once a week cause cirrhosis?

Binge drinking just once a week doesn’t protect you from developing cirrhosis; the act of binge drinking is inherently harmful. Once cirrhosis occurs, the damage is irreversible.

In chronic alcohol-related illnesses, more than 90% of heavy drinkers develop a fatty liver, making the organ more susceptible to further damage and conditions like steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The advancement and severity of alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) are influenced by factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and exposure to viral infections.


Binge Drinking | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (n.d.). https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR090120.htm

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Alcohol facts and statistics. Retrieved October 4, 2023, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

Holahan, C. J., Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (2022, September 1). Binge Drinking and Alcohol Problems Among Moderate Average-Level Drinkers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine; Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2022.03.021

Further Reading 

How long does it take to detox from alcohol?​

What are the physical symptoms of alcoholism?

Alcohol abuse statistics in the United States

Is alcohol a drug?

What are the signs that your body is detoxifying?