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The Holiday Season is Upon Us-Part 8-Binging and Three Ways to Beat It!

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

"Even Nectar is poison if taken to excess." -Proverbs

Happy New Year's Eve!

I wanted to take some time and talk with you today about one of the common challenges I see that often make an appearance on New Years Eve: Binging.

So, what is binging? It depends on where you read about it and what substance/activity you're talking about. For example:

*Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as "…a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours" (

*binge eating according to the DSM-5 is (paraphrased) eating a quantity of food in a 2 hour period that is more than what most people would eat in a similar period of time in a similar situation.

Other binge behavior can include shopping, substance use or sexual behavior. The common thread is that binging is excessive behavior. Also, binging can be mood altering.

So when does it happen?

It can occur during times of elevated stress or negative mood states. Sometimes it occurs when a person is trying to feel better. For some people it happens during positive/manic episode because they are feeling so good they fear no consequences. It can also happen when we are around others who are indulging, because it gives us a sense of permission.

Where can it happen?

Just about anywhere depending on your "drug of choice."

*Food at restaurants, at home, gas stations, retail stores or cafes

*alcohol-bars, restaurants, home, gas stations, grocery store or at home

*sex-internet or wherever a "suitable" partner may be found.

Why does it happen?

It is usually an attempt to self-soothe a negative emotional state or to celebrate something (which gets out of hand). It can also be the symptom of a larger mental illness. There are numerous reasons why people binge.

Signs you may be in heading into a binge:

· You feel unable to stop yourself from thinking about binging.

· You put yourself in situations or around people when you KNOW the outcome will be bad, but you want to do it anyway.

· You ignore your conscience (that little quiet voice inside telling you that you are making a mistake) or body signals that you need to stop (feeling overly full, intoxicated, high or nauseous).

· If you find yourself in a police station, hospital or some other bad situation afterwards.

So what can I do?

1) If you can, Use MODERATION. If you can't moderate, get HELP.

If you can moderate, decide before you go what you will allow yourself. Make a plan and stick to it. Note: Not all people are capable of moderation. Some people simply cannot control their impulse to binge. If this is the case for you, read on…


Avoid the people, places and things that are tempting you to binge. Don't go to the places to be around the people that have the thing that will tempt you to binge! Have a friend or sponsor or other resource on speed dial for help preventing the binge.

3) Prepare for the fallout-play the tape through in your head. Do you need to find bail money? Do you need to figure out how to get a ride home safely? Do you need to get Narcan? Will you need ginger ale and crackers tomorrow for that hangover? How can you reduce the harm you are about to do to yourself? Do you need to tell someone you are sorry for what you are planning to do tonight? (Hmmm…wait a minute...maybe binging tonight isn't a good idea after all…)

Of course, you can also choose to do nothing about the binge you are considering, but I do NOT RECOMMEND that as (I not-so-subtly) indicated above in point 3.

Okay, so let's say you wake up tomorrow and you realized you goofed up. Let's say you woke up on New Years Day and felt pretty rotten. What can you do now? Decide if it's time for a change. If it is, reach out. There's no wrong place to start. Start with a friend or family member you trust. Maybe start with your local crisis center or county mental health and addiction services board. Either of these places will have information on resources that can help you. You can consider treatment, 12-step meetings or a variety of other options to help you with your binge behavior. Again, there is no wrong place to start to begin to make your life better.

If you'd like to learn more about today's topic or if you have any questions about the ways I can help you, please call me at 330-451-6306 for your free 15 minute phone consultation. You may also send me a confidential email by going to the following webpage: and entering in your message.

You can also visit my website (if that's not where you are reading this) at for more information about me and the services I offer.

If you are in crisis, please contact the Coleman Crisis Center in Canton, Ohio at 330-452-6000 for immediate help or the national crisis line at 1-800-275-TALK (8255).

You can also text the Ohio Crisis Line by sending "4 hope" to 741-741 or go to the nearest emergency department for immediate assistance.

Have a Safe and Happy New Years Eve everyone! I look forward to seeing you in 2021!



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