“Am I really drinking too much?” A question I asked myself constantly throughout my drinking career.
The thing I found was if you must ask yourself that question, yes, you probably are.
The real headscratcher though is, what is the difference between binge drinking and alcohol addiction?
In this article, we’ll explore some similarities and differences between the two, and help you better understand your drinking habits.
But First, Some Binge Drinking Statistics
It’s estimated that approximately 26.8% of Australian individuals exceed the Australian Adult Alcohol Guideline, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
When it comes to a number of drinks, about one in five consume more than 5 standard drinks in any given day. This number could be much higher though, with seven in ten (70.6%) consuming more than 14 standard drinks in a given week.
Keeping in mind, the Australian Adult Alcohol Guidelines are no more than 4 standard drinks daily, and we’re well and truly going over that.
Just exceeding these values in one alcohol session is considered Binge Drinking.
Binge Drinking or Alcohol Addiction?
Binge drinking is best characterised by drinking a lot of alcohol in one session, with the pure aim of getting drunk, but can stop.
When it comes to Alcohol Addiction, you cannot control or stop drinking, despite the negative consequences.
This alone doesn’t necessarily mean you have an alcohol addiction; it can also depend on other many factors.
You may be drinking too much for it to be classified as Alcohol Addiction (or Alcohol Use Disorder) if:
- Alcohol is consumed in significant amounts or consumed longer than intended.
- You have a persistent desire for alcohol and have actively attempted to reduce or control alcohol use with no success.
- Your regular alcohol use impacts daily responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Continued use of alcohol despite knowing reoccurring physical or psychological issues.
- An unnecessary amount of time is spent on activities to obtain, use alcohol or recover from its effects (Nehring and Freeman, 2022).
This list isn’t comprehensive, but if any of these resonate, you could have an Alcohol Use Disorder rather than just Binge Drinking.
I always recommend checking out The Red Flags of Addiction, which is a simpler checklist in navigating the potential of Alcohol Addiction.
Do I have An Alcohol Addiction? Discussing 10 Key Indicators Of Alcohol-Dependence – This article is also worth reading.
It Could be Alcohol Addiction, What Next?
If you’ve identified that alcohol may not have a place in your life, and it’s causing yourself or others harm, it’s a great thing to discover.
This can allow you to begin the process of quitting alcohol for good, and it can be fast or slow depending on your circumstances.
What this means is, that you must block the path back towards alcohol so you can’t backpedal, and create a support network to keep you on track.
Having support from friends and family also makes it easier to discuss the situation. Of course, during this process, you should also seek professional advice and consider other options, such as medication or counselling.
Remember again, it is a process, and should you slip up, embrace failure. Addiction relapse can be important in long-term sobriety – more here.
Navigating binge drinking and alcohol issues is important. A good number of Australians go beyond recommended alcohol limits, urging some self-reflection.
Differentiating binge drinking from alcohol addiction is key – binge drinking is about drinking a lot at once, while addiction is not being able to stop despite problems.
Recognising possible Alcohol Use Disorder involves looking at how alcohol affects your life. If you see alcohol is causing harm, or may not be compatible with your life anymore, it could be time to quit.
If you have any feedback regarding this article, reach out. Help Clarity reach more people and quit addiction by following us on Instagram, it’s also the perfect place to message us and ask questions!
- Nehring, S.M. and Freeman, A.M. (2022). Alcohol Use Disorder. [online] PubMed. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28613774/.
Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.