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What is the Difference Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism?

Many people associate alcoholism with binge drinking, and while that is not entirely wrong, it’s not the whole story. The differences between binge drinking and alcoholism are many, and while binge alcoholics do exist, there are many more struggles for alcoholics than just binge drinking. 

Alcohol use disorders are extensive and require substance use treatment and rehabilitation, while individuals who only binge drink may display problematic behaviors that they can stop. Addiction is a disease, and alcoholism is not different. Binge drinking, on the hand, is merely a sign of a problematic relationship with alcohol. 

If you are unsure where you or a loved one fall on this scale, contact the Robert Alexander Center today.

At the Robert Alexander Center, we provide expert addiction treatment in Kentucky for lasting recovery on a comprehensive campus designed to support each individual through personalized holistic programs. 

What is the Difference Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism?

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a sign of irresponsible drinking habits and can indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. “Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks on occasion for men or four or more drinks on occasion for women.” In other words, This means drinking more than the recommended amount for your gender and body weight. By doing so, your body can not safely process the alcohol, leading to unhealthy and unsafe consequences. 

Binge drinking can lead to blackouts, alcohol poisoning (aka alcohol overdose), and an increased likelihood of accidents due to risk-taking behaviors. When a person drinks alcohol, it can lower their inhibitions, and it increases the possibility of dangerous accidents and other risk-based situations.

Does Binge Drinking Mean You’re an Alcoholic?

Binge drinking does not necessarily mean that you’re an alcoholic. Instead, binge drinking indicates a problematic relationship with alcohol and indicates unsafe drinking practices that could lead to alcoholism. 

A problematic relationship with alcohol can be described through multiple situations. Individuals may experience several troubling behaviors that signal an unsafe relationship with drinking. Individuals who drink illegally, mix drugs with alcohol or drink in dangerous ways have warning signs indicating they are on the path to addiction.

Underage drinking is one of the first ways individuals may notice problematic drinking. By drinking underage, individuals have a higher chance of developing an addiction to alcohol than others who wait to drink when they are legally able. Additionally, drinking illegally is a risk, and the risk associated can also initiate other unsafe habits like binge drinking or mixing alcohol with other substances. The combination increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder and of an individual struggling with addiction long term. 

What is the Difference Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism?

What is the Difference Between Binge Drinking and Alcoholism?

While alcoholics can binge drink, it is not a requirement in the definition of alcoholism. Alcoholism is defined as “a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” An alcohol use disorder requires an individual to have several indicators for addiction and may be more noticeable with other symptoms and those indicated by problematic drinking.

Individuals who are addicted to alcohol may have several behaviors that stand out. For example, individuals may drink in the morning to stave off a hangover, drink at inappropriate times, like at work, or all of their social activities may revolve around alcohol. If this is the case, it is crucial to consider the rest of their behaviors and reactions to alcohol.

Alcohol addiction impacts every area of an individual’s life and can lead to problems within their relationships, work, and even the law. These issues arise from increased risk-taking, reduced responsibility, and reduced reliability. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which can cause many problems for an individual struggling with addiction. 

How to Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment Near You

While it may be easy to find alcohol addiction treatment, finding the right one ‘near you is essential for a healthy and successful rehabilitation.

At the Robert Alexander Center, our Kentucky treatment campus provides individuals with the perfect opportunity for clients to detox and rehabilitate through inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment programs. By offering every level of supportive therapy, our clients can have smooth, safe, and successful transitions through rehabilitation and focus on healing.
Contact the Robert Alexander Center today to see how we can support your rehabilitation from problematic substance use to severe addiction with high-quality expert care.

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