Binge Drinking Basics, Part II
E.T. “Moe” Briggs began working with young adults, some of whom were developmentally challenged in 1981 and specifically in the Chemical Dependency field in 1992.
Moe received a Master of Science degree in Clinical Community Counseling, specializing in addictions, from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
Prior to admission to the Johns Hopkins University program he served on the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists as first advisor appointed by Governor Paris Glendenning.
Moe holds credentials as a National Certified Counselor; Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor; Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner; Master Addiction Counselor and Substance Abuse Professional.
He has served in a variety of clinical settings providing direct services as well as management.
Moe served as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Counseling Department at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. In that role he instructed students in the Psychology of Culture. As an adjunct professor, he realized that senior members of the addiction treatment community were, like himself, ageing out of the profession. With that in mind he set out to mentor young interns and practitioners entering the field of addictions healthcare.
In 2007, Moe found a way to support his mentorships and he began a formal internship program at the Kolmac Clinic in Washington, DC. The Kolmac Clinic partnerships include local area universities and continue to this day as an effective means of educating new practitioners.
Additionally, Moe facilitates a variety of trainings, locally and out of state, related to addictions and mental health counseling for a variety of public and private audiences.
His professional goal is to maintain clinical and managerial skill sets at a level which enables him to continue delivering quality services, believing that “every decision we make, everything we do, must be in the best interest of patients, students and organizations we serve”.
His personal goal is to be a mentor to the younger generation and an example of the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits “right living” can bring.
Moe was kind enough to take some time and discuss issues about binge drinking and the impact it has on our culture.
Do binge drinkers have a recovery rate or relapse rate different from other substance abusers?
I am not sure that binge drinking has a recovery rate. Generally speaking we [as people] don’t change because we see the light; we change because we feel the heat. Many binge drinkers have not experienced the heat of consequence and therefore have not attempted to stop their behavior.
For some a hospitalization or a legal issue can be the impetus to change, for others the time between their binges becomes shorter and shorter. This may lead to the realization that their continued bingeing behavior, despite negative consequences, has become unmanageable, that they need to seek help to stop.
If a binge drinker will not consider seeking professional help, are there other methods to stop?
A professional assessment is the place to start. It might become necessary to have an intervention utilizing a family doctor, [intervention] professional, clergy and/or someone the person respects. Remember that denial can be as much the corner stone of a binger drinker’s thinking as it is for the alcoholic.
Are there community groups designed to help the binge drinker specifically?
Not that I am aware of, however, anyone who thinks they might have a problem with alcohol is welcome at open Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
In your practice have you seen a certain demographic that is most at risk for binge drinking?
I’ve noticed it in youth and college age groups, often as a rite of passage. Sometimes, wanting to belong overrides caution. This can be especially dangerous if someone drinks large enough quantities to bring about alcohol poisoning or impaired driving.
What is the range of complications that a binge drinker can experience?
Many of the effects that I’m aware of are listed by the Center for Disease Control. The CDC states that binge drinking is associated with problems, including:
- Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.2
- Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.3
- The prevalence of binge drinking among men is higher than the prevalence among women.4
- Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.3
- About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
- About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
- The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18- to 20-year-old group (51%).3
- Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning).
- Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence).
- Alcohol poisoning.
- Sexually transmitted diseases.
- Unintended pregnancy.
- Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
- High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Liver disease.
- Neurological damage.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Poor control of diabetes.
Is there a role that society plays in exacerbating binge drinking behavior?
Yes. We seem oriented toward the “I want it now” perspective in every aspect of our lives. Drinking faster, drinking more and in a shorter period of time certainly meets that criteria. There is a prevailing need to be somewhere other than the “now” and it has overtaken and overwhelmed us. We are often influenced by the media and advertisements, and we assign the beautiful and alluring life to a particular alcoholic beverage. In principle, who doesn’t want to be part of that! From a practical perspective, that alluring life is often not reachable.
Do you see any clear cut way to curb or eliminate this behavior in the future?
I suggest continuing to fund prevention programs for the target pre-addictive behavior and more treatment/prevention programs that provide opportunities for addicted individuals to enter recovery.