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Social Drinker vs Alcoholic

Social Drinker vs Alcoholic

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 85.6 percent of adults in the United States drank alcohol at least once in their lives.1

Drinking is deeply rooted in various cultures, especially American culture. Alcohol is widely available in stores, restaurants, and bars. It’s often used in social settings, vacations, celebrations, and even in some religious rituals. However, the case of social drinker vs alcoholic is widely debated. As a Stuart, Florida treatment center, we know that social drinking can quickly spiral out of control.

What Is A Social Drinker?

A social drinker is someone who regularly drinks alcohol in social settings or while socializing with others. The social drinking definition applies to people whose lives aren’t disrupted by alcohol. They’re not dependent on alcohol in any way, but merely choose to have one or two drinks while out with friends. Drinking alcohol and socializing have been linked for centuries. From the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern-day Americans, alcohol is often used in social settings. But why is social drinking a thing?

Some common reasons why people drinking socially include:

  • Relaxation
  • Socializing
  • To fit in
  • Celebrations
  • Religious rituals

Social drinking is considered harmless by many. Having a few drinks a week or several while out with friends is a norm for lots of people. But if left unchecked, this habit can become a serious problem.

What Is Considered Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent. This equates to five or more drinks in an adult male, and four or more drinks in an adult female within two hours.2 A person can binge drink even if they only drink in social settings. Binge drinking is a form of progressive and addictive behavior. Eventually, a binge drinker may begin drinking alone. One of the most common signs of alcoholism is when a person drinks alone. This means that their need to drink is no longer attached to socializing or celebrating or any other affair, but they simply drink just to drink. A person can also become a binge drinker if they go out often. If they only drink while socializing, but they socialize almost every day of the week, then this can create an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

The stages of alcoholism include binge drinking. If you realize that you or a person you know is binge drinking, then it may indicate a more serious problem. At Banyan Treatment Centers Stuart, we offer alcohol detox in Florida that helps patients wean off of alcohol, making it easier for them to quit drinking.

Social Drinker vs Alcoholic: What’s the Difference?

Many social drinkers don’t decline into alcoholism and can stop drinking whenever they want. They only drink in social settings and never dive into binge drinking. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a progressive disease that usually begins with social drinking or experimentation and eventually leads to problem drinking. Alcoholism refers to when social drinking leads to problem drinking, which eventually leads to a legitimate health condition. This is usually the result of growing tolerance. The more a person drinks, the more they’ll eventually have to drink to experience the same side effects. When this happens, the person’s regular intake of alcohol may increase significantly. Simply put, the difference between a social drinker and an alcoholic is that social drinkers drink in social settings and alcoholics can’t control their drinking.

Signs You Have A Drinking Problem

A problem drinker or alcoholic may exhibit certain psychological and behavioral symptoms. Some common signs that you have a drinking problem include:

  • You don’t know when it’s time to stop drinking
  • You can’t stop drinking even when you want to
  • You binge drink multiple times a week
  • You’re intoxicated before you arrive at social gatherings or events
  • You spend time with people who are also heavy drinkers
  • You’ve driven under the influence of alcohol
  • You’ve participated in risky behaviors under the influence of alcohol
  • Friends or family avoid you when you’re drinking or intoxicated
  • You black out frequently
  • You feel shame or guilt over your drinking
  • You consider alcohol as a reward
  • You drink to escape from stress and negative emotions
  • You get defensive whenever people question your drinking habits
  • You finish other people’s drinks
  • You don’t want to imagine your life without alcohol

The long-term effects of alcohol include liver disease, cancer, heart problems, and more. People with drinking problems who do not get help are more likely to suffer from serious mental and physical issues in the long run. At Banyan Detox Stuart, we offer alcohol addiction treatment that’s centered on treating the health effects of alcohol and helping people regain control over their lives.

The aftereffects of substance abuse can be detrimental to your mind and body. If you find yourself unable to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs, we can help. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to one of our team members about our levels of care.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.