Drinking alcohol, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a sign of substance abuse or addiction. However, too much of even a good thing can be problematic, and casual drinking can eventually lead to alcoholism. It’s important for all adults to understand where casual consumption ends and the need for treatment for alcohol addiction begins. Do you know the difference in social drinking vs alcoholism?
Defining Casual or Social Drinking
In the United States, approximately 87.6% of adults have consumed alcohol in their lifetimes, and just under 57% say they drink on a monthly basis. Moderate alcohol consumption is not problematic for most individuals, and some studies even suggest that it can offer health and stress-related benefits.
Trying to define casual, social or moderate drinking can be difficult, as it ultimately depends on individuals, their physiological makeup, their personality and even their tolerance. Typically, however, casual drinking is defined as having complete control over consumption and drinking fewer than seven drinks per week.
Defining an Alcohol Addiction
Having an addiction to alcohol is markedly different from simply being a casual or social drinker. An alcoholic is someone who needs a particular amount of alcohol in order to function or feel well. Without alcohol, an alcoholic may feel sick, unhappy or unmotivated to handle daily activities.
It’s important to understand that alcohol addiction can take many forms. Alcoholics may be sociable and outgoing, and they may be able to function well in certain environments. However, they may also be withdrawn and antisocial, using alcohol as a coping mechanism for things like depression and anxiety. Whatever manifestation appears, an alcoholic will always need treatment for alcohol addiction in order to achieve health and sobriety.
Social Drinking vs Alcoholism
Whether individuals are concerned about their own consumption of alcohol, or the consumption of a loved one, it may be helpful to look for common signs of alcoholism. By identifying these signs, it can be a signal that the person in question has a need for treatment for alcohol addiction:
- The inability to control consumption after the first sip
- Daily consumption of alcohol
- Acting dramatically different when under the influence of alcohol
- Legal, work or school problems resulting from alcohol
- Personal relationships impacted by alcohol consumption
- Physical symptoms that only end after consuming alcohol
Knowing When to Seek Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Many of the signs listed above, as well as others, can indicate an addiction to alcohol. Ultimately, however, it may be about the issue of control. People who can’t abstain from the consumption of alcohol, whether for a day or a month, are people who aren’t in control of their health, their happiness or their sobriety. In these cases, finding the necessary treatment can make all the difference.
Justifying your alcohol consumption as merely casual or social drinking may be a mistake. By identifying the difference in social drinking vs alcoholism you can begin the road to recovery. Call 866-322-7820 for more information on The Hills Treatment Center and our options for effective addiction treatment.