Binge drinking is the consumption of large quantities of alcohol over a short period of time. Binge drinking has been linked to many instances of alcohol poisoning leading to death. Binge drinking is a major concern at environments such as college as the students have recently moved from home and are experiencing a new freedom without much experience with the dangers of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking can also lead to blackouts. Blackouts are a severe loss of memory of any occurrences while the individual was intoxicated. It is as if one is functioning and behaving without any awareness of what they are doing or saying. This state may lead one to do any number of harmful things, such as getting behind the wheel of a car.
Alcohol abuse over a period of time can lead to chronic abuse and alcoholism. By this time the individual has become dependent upon alcohol and may become a daily or even a 24/7 drinker. The dependence upon alcohol is believed to be twofold. It begins with the individual obsessively thinking about having a drink, regardless of past harms associated with drinking. Once the drink is taken it kicks off a physical craving, sometimes described as an allergy, that does not allow the individual to stop. Once a person has entered into this phase of alcoholism, it is widely believed that total abstinence is required if the individual is to be relieved of his alcohol problem.
But there is good news for the alcohol abuser or alcoholic. Many programs have sprung up, AA to name one, which are dedicated to guiding the alcoholic trying to get sober through the experiences of those that came before them. The chronic alcohol abuser would be well advised to seek a professional detox center or hospital in order to “dry out”. Withdrawal from alcohol at best is extremely uncomfortable and at worst extremely dangerous to the point of death. Residential treatment centers followed by entry into a sober living environment offer the greatest chance to a sustained, continuous sobriety.