Binge drinking harms millions of people in Britain, including relatives and friends of those who drink alcohol to excess. If you’ve drunk too much over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, or you’re concerned about alcohol binges over the upcoming Bank Holidays, you’re not alone. If you’ve had enough of binge drinking at weekends, read on for advice and help. Perhaps you’ve been wishing the time away with your kids or partner, as you recover from hangovers. You might be dragging yourself into work feeling like death warmed up. If so, it’s time to take stock.
If the cycle of binge drinking is getting you down, please contact Help Me Stop. Whether you or a loved one needs help to stop alcohol, we are here. We offer affordable and confidential alcohol rehab in London, in Hampshire and our Online Rehab worldwide.
Binge drinking is more common than you think
Binge drinking is defined by the NHS as drinking heavily over a short period of time. If you’re regularly drinking alcohol above the recommended limit (14 units per week for men and women), or you often ‘save up’ your weekly units to drink in a day or at the weekend, then you’re into the territory of excessive drinking and associated alcohol harm.
If you binge drink, reckless behaviour and accidents are more likely. Sometimes it’s easy to spot patterns in yourself of taking risks that you wouldn’t take without a few drinks inside you. You might have been hurt after having too much alcohol. It also includes saying or doing things that are out of character, things you regret the next day – the embarrassing stuff that just doesn’t feel like you at all. It’s also minor physical injuries or falls, right through to major accidents after drinking. Other times, it’s hard to know that your behaviour has changed and others point it out to you. Either way, we can assess the impact of your alcohol use and provide treatment if that’s what you want. Contact us here to book a free assessment for alcohol treatment.
Remember, it’s very easy to underestimate your units of alcohol. A standard large glass of wine (250ml) is 3 units and a bottle of wine is 9 units, so drinking a half to a full bottle of wine in an evening is binge drinking. A standard pint of beer, lager or cider is usually around 2 units, so if you have a pint after work, no problem. But up the number of pints, or if you’re into stronger beers, lager or ciders (6% ABV and above are typically at least 4 units per pint), then you’re into a different alcohol zone altogether.
Almost a quarter of adult women and a third of adult men exceed the daily alcohol limit. We know from NHS Health Survey data (2021) that men and more likely than women to drink more alcohol than the recommended daily limit (29% of men compared with 24% of women). When surveyed, 32% of 55-64 year olds and 22% of 16-24 year olds drank more than three units (women) or four units (men) on any day in the previous week.
How is your hangxiety? It’s one of the most common side effects of drinking too much alcohol in any one session. Do you feel anxious, depressed or paranoid the next day? This is part of the body’s adjustment process, as alcohol leaves your system. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so drinking too much then coming off alcohol can make you feel jittery and sad.
Take our free alcohol use survey – it’s a tool developed by the World Health Organisation, to assess your alcohol risk. It takes only two minutes to complete and you get your confidential results on screen immediately. If you’re drinking at risky or hazardous levels, we provide you with information with your results on alcohol treatment and support.
Bank Holiday binge drinking – time to take a fresh look at alcohol?
We’re firmly in the midst of Bank Holiday season in the UK. There’s the Easter long weekend, three May Bank Holidays (including an additional Bank Holiday for the King’s Coronation), followed by the August Bank Holiday, then Christmas and New Year too. If most or all of these weekends involve drinking more than a glass or two, then it could be time to think differently about it. Think about it this way…
Do you plan (or end up having) drinking sessions on Bank Holiday weekends? Remember, this can look very different to people, depending on your lifestyle and social preferences. It might be going out to the local pub to meet good friends. Or you might often be the last one to leave the club (or you can’t remember leaving). It might involve drinking games or cocktail parties. Equally, it could be a family lunch, or a ‘few beers’ with the match. You might always start drinking early at the airport or train station on long weekends away. Or it could be stocking up on supplies of alcohol at Bank Holidays because you know your local supermarket has reduced trading hours. The question to ask yourself is this: do my weekends regularly revolve around alcohol?
And how do you feel when life ‘returns to normal’? Most of us know the major physical health risks of drinking too much alcohol, including chronic health conditions like liver disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer. What’s not talked about so much is how we feel mentally, particularly day to day. We shrug it off, telling ourselves it’s normal to wake up feeling lousy, unable to be present with our partner or kids. Perhaps we call in sick to work, and most often at the start of the week. Maybe our boss or business partner has started to notice our absence? Really common after binge drinking is the comedown effect. Real life can seem unusually hard, boring or depressing. It can feel impossible to get up and go to work after a big weekend. Do you wish away the days until you can ‘drink freely’ on Friday again? Does a Friday drink the become Thursday or Wednesday night?
Do you often swear off alcohol or sign up for no-alcohol challenges, then drink more afterwards? This is a biggie to look at. The more you need breaks from alcohol or big challenges for help to stop alcohol, then the more likely you’ve developed some level of psychological dependence. Do you always sign up for Dry January or Sober October? Then do you bargain with yourself that you can drink more afterwards? Is a blow out at Christmas and New Year your reward for drinking less or nothing in other months?
Really, it’s about weighing it up, and asking yourself whether alcohol adds up. Put simply, if the consequences of your drinking are stacking up, then this is a sign of a progressive alcohol addiction. Remember, alcohol can seem very sociable and civilised, as this is how alcohol is marketed to us – it’s all fun and glamour. What the adverts never show is the downside, the day after, the headaches and sickness, the upset partners and frustrated colleagues, the embarrassing stories. That’s what you need to ask yourself: what does the full picture of alcohol look like in my life? Is it worth it?
Help to Stop Alcohol and Stay Stopped
Binge drinkers are people who can stop alcohol for a few days or weeks at a time. But then something always comes along and they find they drink more than they want to, or with increasing consequences to their health and wellbeing.
Get confidential help to stop alcohol that fits with your work and family commitments. Contact us to book a free, no-obligation assessment.