Drinking plays a large role in American society — whether it’s Sunday brunch, a concert or a sporting event, alcohol consumption is almost always involved.
While this is not inherently a problem, it can become one if not properly monitored.
Social drinking is what much of the population is familiar with. Having a glass of wine with dinner or a mimosa with brunch is a common occurrence, but when one drink turns into multiple, and this pattern begins repeating again and again, it might be prudent to take a look at the signs and identify if social drinking habits are causing concern.
Types of alcohol drinkers
It may sound strange, but those who consume alcohol are often categorized into types of drinkers. This categorization is not based on how or when they drink, but rather the quantity of alcohol that is consumed.
The generalized categories include:
Social Drinking: A person consumes a few drinks, safely, in social settings
Binge Drinking: A person consumes several drinks in a short amount of time. Typically, this means five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women over a two hour time period
Problem Drinking: A person regularly binge drinks and often frequently experiences the negative consequences of drinking too much
Drinking Addiction: A person is no longer able to control how much they drink or when they drink, often leaving them unable to lead a fully-functioning life
Since these are general categories, it’s important to note that individuals can “move” between them. While one may be more prone to drink socially, he or she may engage in binge drinking if peer pressure plays a role, for example.
Does social drinking always become an addiction?
To put it simply, no, social drinking does not always become an addiction. In many cases, social drinking never turns into an addiction — regardless, it’s important to be aware of the possibilities as there are factors that could predispose an individual to the development of an addiction.
Factors that may play a role in the development of an addiction include:
- Any pre-existing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD
- A pre-existing physical health condition
- A family history of addiction
- A personal history of addiction
- Peer pressure, or environmental pressures
If one or more of these factors are present, it could mean that drinking habits could turn into a more serious problem. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the signs of addiction in order to help prevent it in your life.
Signs of alcohol addiction
The signs of an addiction may present themselves when one’s drinking habits have become more frequent or in larger quantities than normal.
How often alcohol consumption occurs
It’s not entirely uncommon to have rare nights when one loses control and experiences the consequences of heavy drinking. However, if an individual is frequently binge drinking, blacking out or experiencing other negative consequences, their social drinking likely has evolved into a problem that should be addressed.
Is the quantity of drinking controlled?
A main factor that signals that a person is no longer drinking socially, but rather as a result of addiction, is their inability to control when and how much they drink. If you find that a friend or loved one is having a large number of drinks when they’re out or drinking when no one else is, they may no longer have control of their habit and struggle with alcohol abuse.
Have physical symptoms appeared?
Physical symptoms include delayed reaction times, slurred speech and impaired judgement. If you or someone you know is routinely experiencing these symptoms, too much alcohol is being consumed. In order to prevent these symptoms from arising, it’s important to put a limit on the amount of alcohol consumed in a setting.
Distancing from social situations
An addiction is most likely present when you notice yourself or your loved one distancing from social events. You might struggle to show up for work or school on time, or prefer to opt out of family events — when addiction is present, priorities are elsewhere. Therefore, a lack of attendance, or a distancing is likely to occur. This may be because one is recovering from drinking too much, or because they’re choosing to engage in drinking habits instead.
How can I get help if drinking is becoming a problem?
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, the team at Silvermist Recovery Center is here to help. In a serene and supportive environment, young adults receive a holistic and personalized approach to treatment and recovery.
Learn more about our addiction treatment center—including our young adult rehab and various treatment modalities—by getting in touch with us today.