Dangers of Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning in British Columbia

We often relate binge drinking to be a teenage or young adult activity in the Lower Mainland, but it can also be prevalent with older adults who are finishing entire bottles of wine with their partners and friends in homely dinner party situations across Greater Vancouver.  

Often, we’ll find a binge drinking situation is one in which the aim is to celebrate or cut loose where it’s expected that people will be drinking to get drunk, and drunken behaviour is either tolerated or celebrated. It can offer a sense of comradery. It’s something that we don’t really think of as being unusual or problematic if it’s all around us and everyone is doing the same thing. 

Unfortunately, in British Columbia, binge drinking is accepted and often normalized. Binge drinking is dangerous immediately, as well as long-term. As mentioned previously it can lead to alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), other substance abuse problems, and health problems.

If you already know binge drinking is a problem for you or someone you love in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford or Vancouver, there are many options available to help stop binge drinking and start on the path to recovery. If you aren’t sure or would just like to find out more information don’t hesitate to reach out and read on. We are here to help and can be with you and your family within 48 hours of your call. When dealing with a loved one or your own binge drinking it is always best to seek out advice from a medical professional in British Columbia or approach a treatment facility for better information and resources on how to deal with it. Let our team of Interventionists and Addiction Specialists in the Greater Vancouver area help find the right private detox and rehab. Call us today at 1-888-960-3209.

What Exactly is Considered Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a type of alcohol use disorder (AUD) that involves drinking a heavy amount of alcohol in a short time frame. Binge Drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when the average man consumes 5 or more drinks, and the average woman consumes 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours or less. 

There is currently no consensus in British Columbia to say what constitutes the number of drinks in a binge-drinking session; given that everyone has different levels of alcohol tolerance. 

Binge drinking may seem like a normal part of a young person’s life or part of the party scene, but the truth is, it is extremely dangerous and often leads to unfavourable consequences physically and mentally or even full-blown alcoholism.

What is Alcohol Poisoning in Greater Vancouver?

alcohol poisoning

One of the greatest risks of binge drinking is the possibility of alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. Alcohol poisoning occurs when the body is unable to process the high level of alcohol consumed in such a short time, leading to BAC levels becoming toxic. Signs of alcohol poisoning may include confusion, vomiting, seizures, extremely slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute), irregular breathing (more than 10 seconds between breaths), bluish or pale skin, hypothermia, and unconsciousness. If you suspect alcohol poisoning, immediately call 911.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone absorbs alcohol rapidly, for example by excessive drinking. It is the poisoning of the body with alcohol. Symptoms range from nausea and vomiting to seizures and coma. In extreme cases, it can be fatal.

Reasons Surrey Residents Binge Drink

People binge drink for many different reasons. Celebrations, stress, grief but binge drinkers often report that it makes them feel relaxed, numb, carefree and/or unhabituated. For some, excessive or binge-breaking drinking is a way to cope with boredom, anxiety, or problems in their lives. It may provide an escape or relief from painful thoughts and feelings.

Other reasons for binge drinking may be psychological. Binge drinking can be used as a coping mechanism or to self-medicate perceived negative emotions or past trauma. Even the guilt of having a drink may even drive people to drink again, creating a situation whereby they begin binge drinking again even if.

Is Binge Drinking Dangerous in the Fraser Valley?

Binge Drinking is the process through which a person consumes a considerable amount of alcohol in a single 2-hour period quickly raising their blood alcohol concentration. That means about 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for guys. In the long term, binge drinking will have an increased risk for those in British Columbia giving them serious issues like pancreatic cancers, liver disease, heart disease and some other cancers and illnesses.

Other issues and consequences related to binge drinking are as follows…

  • Getting physically hurt – binge drinkers are more likely than other Vancouver residents to do things like fall or get injured.
  • Becoming victimized – binge drinkers have a higher risk of being assaulted, robbed, and sexually assaulted.
  • Accidents – binge drinking increases the chances of car accidents and poor decision-making behind the wheel.
  • Body harm – binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a dangerous health condition that can be fatal.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning or Overdose in the Lower Mainland

symptoms of alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can lead to death and can happen to binge drinkers or any individual with high blood alcohol levels.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning… 

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to remain conscious
  • Slowed breathing or irregular breathing
  • Clammy skin, low body temperature
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Seizures

An individual does not need to exhibit all of these symptoms to be critically ill. If you suspect someone has overdosed on alcohol, act quickly. Call 911 and stay with the person until medical personnel arrive. You can help answer questions on their behalf, like how much they have drunk and if they have taken other drugs in combination.

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse in the Lower Mainland

Binge drinking can lead British Columbians to binge drink again and again. Binge drinkers who binge drink regularly are more likely than others to have alcohol problems later in life, including alcoholism and alcohol use disorder. They are also more likely to use recreational drugs and develop a substance abuse disorder.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse Disorder are as follows…

  • strong alcohol cravings
  • Inability to cut down on alcohol
  • Drinking when the person had no intention of drinking that day
  • Alcohol use causing problems at home, school, and/or work
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite social and interpersonal issues
  • Drinking despite all consequences related to drinking
  • Avoiding activities due to alcohol use
  • Using alcohol in illegal or dangerous situations like driving
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite having physical health or mental health issues
  • Rising alcohol tolerance, meaning the need to use more alcohol to feel its desired effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms when one attempts to stop using alcohol

Women Binge Drinking and Mommy Juice Culture in British Columbia. Fact or Myth?

women binge drinking

Just look around your local gift shops and check out Facebook memes and you’ll see that Mommy Juice is a real thing. There has been a lot of media attention on the mommy drinking phenomenon and how mom’s drinking because of their kids has turned into a comical phrase. The truth is moms are binge drinking more, but they’re not the only ones. Binge drinking rates are on the rise for nearly all groups of Canadians, whether they have children or not.

From 2006 to 2018, the rate of binge drinking in women with children rose at about the same pace as women without children. Overall, most age groups of both genders saw increases in binge drinking from 2006 to 2018, with unhealthy behaviour still more common among men than women.

How to Stop Binge Drinking in British Columbia

If you want to take steps to cut down or abstain from alcohol before it seriously impacts your life. Here are five ways for how to stop binge drinking. If these methods are not enough for you or you are ready to get some help know you are not alone and we are here to guide you and assist you in your recovery.

1. Make a plan and put it in writing

Write down all the reasons you need to slow down or quit drinking alcohol. Note the possible consequences of continuing destructive behaviour, such as alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, sexual assault, arrest, financial problems, health problems, and more. Review your list often, especially if you feel tempted to drink. If you’re planning to slow down rather than abstain, keep track of how much you drink, where you are, the people you’re with, and your emotions when drinking in a diary or journal. This will help you better understand your triggers, and avoid drinking mindlessly.

2. Change your environment

Triggers that lead to binge drinking often include places, people, and events. While you’re getting a handle on your drinking behaviour, you may need to avoid certain bars, parties, or other activities you know will center around excessive drinking. You may need to avoid spending time with specific people or groups who focus on alcohol for fun. It’s possible you may need to permanently avoid these potential triggers. If you do choose to go to a bar or party, don’t play drinking games. Games cause you to drink too much, too fast, and you may not realize how much you are consuming. Limit yourself to one drink, or less, an hour, and have a non-alcoholic drink in between those with alcohol.

3. Rely on family and friends for support

Confide in those who support your desire to cut back or abstain from alcohol consumption. Ideally, those in your support system drink little or no alcohol themselves and don’t rely on alcohol to have a good time. They can act as accountability buddies, helping you to keep on track with your desire to stop binge drinking. Make sure your support system includes someone you can call at any hour to help you through cravings, triggers, or depression. If you plan to attend an event where alcohol will be present, take a trusted support person with you, as well as non-alcoholic drinks.

4. Abstinence may be your best approach

It may be easier, and more appropriate, for you to abstain from alcohol, rather than attempt to cut down on consumption. This is especially true if you have signs of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Educate yourself about AUD and binge drinking. Attend a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting in Vancouver or other alcohol support group for valuable information. AA meetings are offered in an open or closed meeting format. If you think you may have an alcohol use problem, you can attend either format. If you don’t think you have a problem but want to gather information for yourself or another, attend an open meeting. Anyone can attend an open meeting for any reason. Closed meetings are just for those that want help quitting drinking. You don’t even have to identify yourself unless you choose to. Check out the Alcoholics Anonymous website for information on finding meetings in Vancouver or the Fraser Valley or online meetings.

5. Ask yourself why you are drinking excessively?

Is it to reduce stress, anxiety, boredom, or other negative feelings, or to feel more at ease socially? Consider seeing a therapist help you sort out your feelings, and to learn healthier ways to cope. Implement positive lifestyle changes. Commit to regular physical exercise, nutritious eating, participation in interesting sports or hobbies, and attending events that are alcohol-free. Research has shown participating in yoga, mindfulness, inspirational reading, positive self-talk, limiting negative news or TV shows, and spending time with positive thinkers improve self-esteem, mood, and long-term sobriety. If you feel your alcohol use has progressed to a moderate or severe AUD, talk to your doctor about medications that can reduce withdrawal symptoms and help reduce cravings, and for treatment resources.

Getting Help for Binge Drinking or Interventions Around Binge Drinking in Vancouver or the Fraser Valley

AA meeting

If you’re worried about yourself or someone you love in British Columbia, know that you are not alone. Help is available to you and recovery is indeed possible.

You can consult with our interventionists and addiction specialists or contact your doctor and consider going to a treatment facility where professionals can help you recover in a private safe and controlled environment in British Columbia or elsewhere.

Often alcoholism is not an official diagnosis, it’s best to consult with a medical professional to see whether the alcohol consumption has indeed become or is becoming a problem. If you are a family member who is concerned about a loved one then consulting with an Interventionist about the best ways at approaching the individual suffering is a good idea. Contact Andy Bhatti Intervention Sevices for individually tailored treatment plans. 

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