When Social Drinking Turns Into Alcoholism

AARC young adults

People often have a hard time determining if their drinking habits, or the drinking habits of their loved one or spouse, are “normal”.  What exactly is a social drinker versus an alcoholic? How do you know when it’s time to get help? This article will help you understand the difference between a social drinker and actually being an alcoholic in need of help, discussing what to do when social drinking turns into alcoholism.

What is considered a social drinker?

By definition, a social drinker is a person who drinks alcohol primarily on social occasions and only in moderate quantities. It’s an individual who drinks alcoholic beverages usually only when others are around and is in control of their drinking. People who are social drinkers do not drink too much, they don’t get drink just to get drunk and they stop when they feel tipsy; not to the point of getting drunk. They drink because they enjoy the taste, not because they need the effect that alcohol has on them. They don’t drink to mask emotions or numb their emotional pain. They don’t drink to escape.  They don’t crave a drink; they drink because they enjoy it and stop well before intoxication. That is considered social drinking.

What is alcoholism?

social drinker and alcoholismAlcoholism is an extremely serious problem in our world today. An alcoholic is a person who suffers from the disease of alcoholism. Their brain has become dependent on alcohol to function, and without a drink, they experience withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, nausea or overall uneasiness. Alcoholism is a disease. It is the more severe end of the alcohol use disorder spectrum. It is a destructive pattern of alcohol consumption that includes tolerance to or withdrawal from alcoholic beverages, using more alcohol, and having trouble reducing its use or inability to use it in moderation. Other symptoms of alcoholism include spending an inordinate amount of time getting, using, or recovering from the use of alcohol, compromised functioning, and continuing to use alcohol despite an awareness of the detrimental effects it is having on one’s life. More people seek treatment for alcoholism than any other addiction. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.

What to do if you’re addicted to alcohol

Overcoming alcohol addiction can be a long road as the addiction needs intensified treatment. The first step is to admit there is a problem and that alcohol has taken over your life. Getting sober is the next step to recovering from the disease. Recovery programs such as 12-step are a good start. Counseling is an important element to seeking out the help that is needed. Medications may be provided as well to help overcome the symptoms of withdrawal. Having the support of loved ones around will help with the process and get the progression going for a faster recovery. Having the will to quit drinking before it leads to a more serious path if it hasn’t already, needs to be on a level where one wants and needs the help without someone telling them.

Alcohol addiction recovery should be a highly individualized program, which should include both individual therapy and group therapy sessions. Individual sessions will help you understand the triggers of what causes you to drink, and guides you to avoid the situations and maintain sobriety. It’s critical to understand the underlying issues of why one continuously relapses and uses alcohol, and a professional alcohol addiction center can be crucial to this.

If you believe you have crossed the line from social drinker to alcoholic, it’s important to seek help early. Contact the Arizona Addiction Recovery Center now by visiting https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/ or calling 602.346.9130.