Binge drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. It is the most common, costly and deadly form of excessive alcohol use in the country. In fact, one in six adults binge drinks about four times per month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By definition, binge drinking involves consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men or four or more drinks in two hours for women. Although the activity often is associated with college students, people of all ages engage in binge drinking.
Many people believe binge drinking is a harmless activity, but it can lead to violence, memory problems, alcohol addiction or heart disease. It can also result in drunk driving, unsafe sex, blackouts or alcohol poisoning.
Problematic alcohol use, such as binge drinking, should be avoided. A number of steps can be taken to stop binge drinking.
Helpful steps to stop binge drinking include:
Persistence is important when taking steps to prevent binge drinking. Setbacks may occur, and you may slip into binge drinking on occasion. But avoiding the activity could help you steer clear of myriad physical and mental health problems.
College is conducive to irresponsible drinking. About 32 percent of college students engage in binge drinking, according to the Monitoring the Future survey, an annual report funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
However, researchers at Ohio University found that mindfulness might reduce binge drinking among college students.
For the study, researchers recruited 76 college students who experienced a binge drinking episode in the previous two weeks. Half of the participants engaged in a mindfulness program that involved listening to guided meditations. They also learned mindfulness techniques to use when viewing tempting images of alcohol.
Over the next month, the mindfulness participants were asked to meditate on their own for an hour each week in addition to guided meditations. Conversely, participants who did not engage in mindfulness programs were told to control their urges when presented with images of alcohol.
After a month, students in the mindfulness program binge drank an average of 2.6 fewer times than did the other group. The students who practiced mindfulness did not experience consequences of drinking, such as violence or withdrawals, and they were more likely than the others to refuse alcohol when they had access to it.