What’s The Difference Between Social Drinking VS A Drinking Problem?

By David on July 22, 2022 in Drug Abuse

Many people drink alcohol for various reasons. Some people have a casual glass or two once in a while. However, some individuals have such high alcohol consumption that it becomes a problem. Alcohol addiction is a common practice that occurs everywhere in the world. It is especially prominent in America.

Statistics show that 85.6% of Americans over 18 have consumed alcohol at one point in their life. This is a large number. However, not everyone among this number has a drinking problem. Some of them might be social drinkers. Alcohol is a legal substance and can be gotten almost everywhere. At stores, bars, parties, restaurants, etc.

Alcohol is a substance that many individuals use for relief. However, it also comes with its cons. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to various diseases that are harmful to health. Not everyone with a drinking problem suffers from alcoholism. How do you know when drinking alcohol becomes a problem? Here are some ways to differentiate social drinking from a drinking problem.

What Is Social Drinking?

Social drinking is when an individual only consumes alcohol at social events such as birthday parties, work events, and festivals. There is no specific amount of alcohol intake to identify a social drinker. The lives of social drinkers are not affected by their alcohol consumption.
Drinking alcohol at social events has been a commonly practiced culture since the old ages.
A social drinker will only choose to have a drink or two when they are out with friends or invited to a party. They do not take the initiative to seek alcohol when carrying about their daily activities proactively.
Social drinkers are not dependent on alcohol. However, medical personnel advises that even social consumption can increase the probability of alcohol dependency. A social drinker can consume one or two drinks of alcohol a day. However, if the individual consumes about four or five drinks within a short interval, it becomes binge drinking.

Many individuals around the world practice social drinking. They do this to relax and celebrate with their friends and companions. Consuming a drink or two of alcohol with friends is normal but still contains the risk of a potential drinking problem if not approached properly. Social drinkers usually:

What’s the difference between social drinking VS a drinking problem

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What Is A Drinking Problem?

Unlike many people think, a person with a drinking problem does not necessarily have to be an alcoholic. However, people with drinking problems have very high chances of becoming addicted or dependent on alcohol. A person with a drinking problem usually practices unhealthy drinking habits.
A person with a drinking problem will have an increase in their blood alcohol concentration. The standard blood alcohol concentration level of a person with a drinking problem is around 0.8%. This percentage is equal to a person consuming four or five rounds of alcohol within the short span of two hours.

A social or casual drinker can evolve into a binge drinker. Usually, people with drinking problems get to that stage progressively. It didn’t happen overnight. They start with one or two drinks before raising the frequency of their alcohol consumption. The most common sign of a drinking problem is a person drinking alone.

Drinking alcohol alone signifies that the individual no longer fits under the social drinker category. It means the person just wants to drink, without the need for a social event or party. It is easy for social drinkers who attend events regularly to develop drinking problems. Social drinking every three out of five days can easily become a drinking problem.

Alcohol rehab is an effective way for people with problems drinking to break free from the substance. However, alcohol rehabilitation is not necessary for all individuals with drinking problems. Some of them can get full alcohol recovery by undergoing alcohol counseling to help them get through it.

Drinking problems tend to have negative impacts on the lives of individuals. It brings about negative experiences and problems that could be avoided. In some instances, people with drinking problems might feel dependent on alcohol but might not be addicted or totally physically dependent on the substance. People with drinking problems will find it difficult to stop alcohol intake. Some people binge drink to:

Alcohol addiction

Signs Of A Drinking Problem

People who have drinking problems exhibit some signs that can be used to identify the situation. These signs can be behavioral or psychological. A few ways to identify if you or someone around you has a drinking problem are:
  • Not knowing when to stop drinking.
  • Avoiding social gatherings and friends to drink alone.
  • Frequent feelings of depression, violence, or anger.
  • Binge drinking multiple times a week.
  • The inability to stop drinking even when the person wants to.
  • Occasional blackouts or memory loss.
  • Exhibiting risky behavior while drinking.
  • Spending time with heavy drinkers.
  • Feeling shame or guilt about drinking.
  • Missing work or appointments just to drink.
  • Devaluing close relationships.
  • Drunk driving.
Excessive intake of alcohol can have various damaging effects on the health of individuals. The effects of a drinking problem include liver diseases, heart issues, cancer, and other health conditions. A drinking problem can be solved through alcohol rehab or alcohol counseling in some milder cases. Alcohol counseling and rehab can help ensure a full alcohol recovery for people with drinking problems.
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Social Drinking VS Drinking Problems

Social drinkers only indulge in alcohol on occasions and events. Their intake during outings and parties is also usually regulated to one or two drinks. Social drinkers find it easier to stop drinking and usually don’t get addicted to alcohol. However, a drinking problem can also be developed from social drinking.

Alcoholism involves a gradual process. It can start from casual drinking before it finally develops into a full-blown drinking problem. This is usually caused due to the body’s increased tolerance to alcohol. That means the more frequently a person engages in alcohol intake, the higher the quantity of alcohol needed to achieve the same effect.

When a person’s tolerance level increases, they might decide to consume larger quantities of alcohol which can lead to addiction or a drinking problem. A social drinker retains the ability to stop drinking alcohol and can regulate their intake. However, people with a drinking problem cannot control their drinking habits.

Regular social drinking isn’t an indication of alcoholism but can lead to it. Social drinkers walk the thin line of alcohol intake control. The moment a social drinker keeps increasing their intake and can’t control it anymore, it becomes a drinking problem. Drinking problems have various effects on physical and mental health but can be solved through alcohol rehab or counseling.

Conclusion

Alcohol consumption is a common part of many cultures and societies. Social drinking has been a common occurrence that can be traced back to the Roman and Greek eras. Social drinkers consume alcohol addiction at outings or occasions such as parties, outings with friends, and work events. They can control the amount of alcohol they consume.

However, social drinking can also lead to a drinking problem. Drinking problems occur when a person cannot control the way they consume alcohol. Drinking problems appear progressively and have harmful effects on the physical and mental health of individuals. Alcohol recovery can happen through alcohol rehab centers or going through counseling sessions.

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