So you've gotten through the work week and are considering celebrating by drinking on the weekend - what's the harm in that? After all, it's just a bit of fun, right? Not necessarily.
Many people use the weekend as an opportunity to let loose and go on a drinking binge. This can cause many short-term and long-term health effects that make drinking on the weekends far less appealing.
What is Considered Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is considered four or more drinks within a couple hours is considered binge drinking, and for men, five or more drinks within a couple hours.
Binge drinking is dangerous and can have harmful effects on your physical and mental health. When consumed in large quantities, alcohol can cause impairment and lead to negative consequences such as sleep deprivation, weight gain, and alcohol addiction.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge-drinking puts pressure across your body’s systems, from your heart through to your brain. If you binge drink, your body then has to work much harder to recover than if you had only had one or two drinks.
This type of drinking can lead to liver damage, brain damage, and other problems. Apart from causing serious health problems like liver cirrhosis and heart disease, binge drinking also puts yourself and those around you at risk, as it can result in accidents and injuries.
Binge drinking can also be detrimental to your mental health. It can lead to anxiety and depression, and even alcohol dependence. Heavy drinking can also lead to other long-term issues like relationship problems, legal troubles, financial difficulties, or social isolation.
The risk of dying from an alcohol-related illness or injury is higher when drinking is concentrated to fewer days compared to being spread more evenly across the week, even if the total number of drinks consumed is the same.
The Problem With the Normalization of Alcohol
People drink for a variety of reasons, whether it be for the sake of celebration, coping with difficult circumstances, letting loose after a stressful week, or simply drinking because their friends are drinking.
Drinking alcohol is extremely normalized, and even celebrated in our society. Throughout high school and college, people are often celebrated based on how much they drink in one night.
However, just because alcohol and binge drinking are so normalized and accessible in our culture, doesn’t mean it comes without risks. Unfortunately, since alcohol is so normalized, people often don’t think twice about indulging in alcohol and what the long-term effects could be. Many people aren’t even aware of the risk that comes with drinking alcohol.
Is it Okay to Drink if it's Only on the Weekends?
Some people justify binge drinking on the weekend because they don’t drink during the week. The reality is, although no amount of drinking is healthy, there is less risk in spreading out your drinking with a drink or two each day rather than drinking excessively on the weekend. However, both situations come with their own risks.
When you drink every day, even in moderation, you are never giving your body a break from alcohol, which can be very bad for your physical and mental health. On the other hand, when you drink heavily only on the weekend, you put your body through more extreme stress, which can increase your risk of developing chronic health conditions.
Ultimately, if you are drinking every weekend, you may be on a slippery slope that could lead to alcohol dependence.
How to Detox After a Weekend of Binge Drinking
Following a weekend of binge drinking, it’s important to detox by drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthy foods to help flush out the toxins. Meditation and getting a good night’s sleep can help reset your brain and get you ready to take on the rest of the week.
In addition to detoxing, make a plan for how you're going to deal with stress in the future and avoid binge drinking on the weekend. Having a plan will help you stay on track and avoid binge drinking in the future.
Signs of an Alcohol Problem
Just because someone doesn't drink every day doesn’t mean they don’t have a problem. So when does drinking on the weekends turn into a problem? Here are a few signs to look out for to know if you or someone you know has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol:
- Unable to control their drinking. - They can’t stop after just having one or two.
- Secretive about their drinking. - They may lie about how much they’ve had or drink when others aren’t around.
- Continuing to drink despite serious consequences in their life. - Has alcohol negatively affected their work performance or relationships?
- Drinking as a coping mechanism. - If someone is looking to alcohol as a quick fix for their problems, this is unhealthy and not an effective solution.
- Often blacking out or losing memory from events while intoxicated. - Drinking to the point of becoming blackout drunk points to a larger problem.
5 Benefits of Staying Sober on the Weekend
Binge drinking is a common problem that many people struggle with. It can be difficult to break the habit, but there are plenty of benefits to staying sober on the weekends.
- No hangovers - Of course, one of the biggest benefits of not drinking on the weekend is that you don’t have to deal with a hangover on Monday. Instead, you can wake up feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to face the week.
- You’ll save money - Alcoholic drinks can get very expensive, and by refraining from drinking, you can save your money and spend it on something more worthwhile.
- Improved sleep - Alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle, so that you spend less time in the deep sleep stage, which can result in you waking up feeling unrested. By staying sober on the weekend, you will actually be able to catch up on sleep and will be well-rested by the time Monday comes around.
- Reduced risk of developing health problems - Alcohol is associated with many serious health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. By choosing not to drink, you are actively reducing your risk of developing any of these conditions.
- Improved mental health - Drinking alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, so staying sober will actually help alleviate your stress and anxiety so that you feel more ready for the week ahead.
Get Help for Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking is a huge problem among college students and young adults. It not only potentially leads to alcohol addiction, but also to a number of health problems. If you're binge drinking every weekend, this is your sign to take a step back and evaluate why you are doing this.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, it's important to seek help. Treatment can help you to change your drinking habits, regain control over your life, and improve your relationships. Please reach out to our addiction recovery specialists for support.