Binge drinking and alcoholism share many similarities, and binge drinking may eventually lead to chronic alcohol consumption. People who do not drink daily or often but feel overwhelmed or stressed and drink a large quantity of alcohol in a short time are considered binge drinkers. Although, the individual does not need to feel adverse emotions to binge drink. So, is binge drinking alcoholism? Keep reading to understand the critical comparisons and differences related to both diagnoses.
Binge Drinking vs. Alcoholism
The difference between binge drinkers and alcoholics is how frequently the substance is abused. Binge drinking is not alcoholism, and if a person engages in occasional drinking episodes, it does not make them an alcoholic. Binge drinking is defined as drinking alcohol in a pattern that gives a person a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. Women will tend to need to consume four or more drinks, unlike men, who may drink one or two more drinks within two hours to reach a high BAC level.
Why do people binge drink? Usually, binge drinking is due to work or family stresses or feelings of a depressive episode. Alcohol is a socially accepted drug that is often used as a coping mechanism to self-medicate from daily problems or past traumatic events. Of course, some people will have a binge drinking episode because they are enjoying a night out or celebrating a special occasion.
Binge drinking disorder warning signs include:
- Drinking heavily every weekend
- Acquiring memory gaps during a binging episode
- Drinking heavily a few days throughout the week
- Disregarding safety measures, such as drinking and driving
- Becoming irritable or defensive if someone questions your patterns
Binge drinkers may have a ritual of binge drinking on the weekends or during events but will have no desire to drink throughout the work week. Due to these reasons, this is the primary factor that separates binge drinking and alcoholism.
So, what does alcoholic mean? When a person builds tolerance and craves alcohol or cannot control drinking despite the negative impact on the brain and body, then a person is struggling with alcohol use disorder. The condition is referred to as alcohol addiction, alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder. How many drinks make you an alcoholic? The condition isn’t defined by the number of alcoholic beverages a person consumes.
Common signs of alcoholism include:
- Poor work ethic
- Lack of social interaction
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Drinking more than intended
- Building a high tolerance to alcohol
- Being defensive or displaying anger
- Not being able to slow down or stop drinking
- Drinking early in the day or soon after waking up
- Continuing alcohol use after relationships are harmed
- Refusing to seek help or being in denial about the negative symptoms
An alcohol detox program is highly recommended for those struggling to stop drinking even after consistent adverse side effects. The key differences between binge drinking alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the severity of physical dependence, the state of frequent drinking, and how a person is able to function. In addition, environmental factors and other stresses may overwhelm and trigger a person to drink.
Treatment at Pines Recovery Life Detox
Our experienced medical team is prepared to safely guide you through the detox process. Our detox center offers unique programs like family therapy and a dual-diagnosis program. We understand that addiction is experienced differently by everyone, which is why we work around your recovery goals so you can receive the proper medical care you need to sustain life-long sobriety. We highly suggest reading about our cognitive-behavioral therapy program to see if it’s the right fit for you during the treatment process.