Social Drinking vs Problem Drinking Why Is Drinking Socially Acceptable?

Often close family or friends will see there is a problem and may be able to persuade a person to explore treatment options. An intervention can help someone recognized and accept that alcohol has taken control of their life, or at least become a priority. Consider talking to someone who has experienced an drinking problem and found recovery. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one’s social drinking has crossed the line into alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction, give us a call. Professional treatment at a recovery center can help you take back your life and stop alcohol abuse from getting worse.

  • From Oktoberfest in Germany to America’s thriving craft beer culture, social drinking is considered the norm.
  • Alcoholism usually starts as social drinking or experimenting with alcohol.
  • By following the rules you’ve set, it’s possible to go your entire life without experiencing problems with alcohol.
  • Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all.
  • This pattern of drinking is often termed ‘binging’, where individuals consume large amounts of alcohol within a single session versus small quantities more frequently.

A good place to start is by joining a group such as Al-Anon, a free peer support group for families dealing with a loved one’s alcohol abuse. Listening to others facing the same challenges can serve as a tremendous source of comfort and support, and help you develop new tools for coping. Alateen is a similar support group specifically for teens who have a family member abusing alcohol. Your loved one’s primary care doctor or GP can evaluate their drinking patterns, assess their overall health and any co-occurring disorders, and provide treatment referrals. If appropriate, your loved one’s doctor may even prescribe medication approved to help treat alcohol dependence. In these difficult times of the global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and high unemployment, many people are drinking more than they used to in an attempt to relieve stress.

Helping a loved one

It’s characterized by an inability to cut back on alcohol without the help of an addiction treatment professional. Most alcoholics cannot predict or control how much alcohol they’ll end up consuming once they start. They often experience denial about their relationship with alcohol, and they rationalize their behavior even as it becomes more erratic, dangerous and embarrassing.

social drinking and drinking problem

Peer-led recovery groups can provide you with additional support following discharge from a treatment program. Individual counseling San Antonio TX offers can also be beneficial in treating alcohol dependency. If you or a loved one is concerned about your drinking, you may wonder what the difference of social drinking vs alcoholism is. Since alcohol is widely available at many different social events, such as parties, it can be difficult to understand how social drinking vs alcoholism differs. College campuses many times make alcohol a central roll in socializing.

Webinar: Women, men and alcohol: Why is gender important in alcohol control policies

However, their effects on global ethanol consumption and public health are still… Alcohol as an intoxicant affects a wide range of structures and processes in the central nervous system and increases the risk for intentional and unintentional injuries and adverse social consequences. Alcohol has considerable toxic effects on the digestive and cardiovascular systems.

Is social drinking bad for you?

Social drinking may be an endemic part of our society — and alcohol is an effective social lubricant in some situations — but drinking irresponsibly or excessively can lead to addiction and alcoholism.

You are not your loved one’s therapist or AA mentor, so don’t try to take on those responsibilities. Witnessing your loved one’s drinking and the deterioration of your relationship can trigger many distressing emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. Your loved one’s addiction may even be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will only bring more harm to you, your loved one with the problem, and the rest of your family. Alcohol abuse and addiction (also known as “alcohol use disorder”) doesn’t just affect the person drinking—it affects their families and loved ones, too.


While many times people can control their alcohol consumption at social events, you may find it difficult to stop drinking once you start. Social drinking can mean having a drink or two at an event, but you remain otherwise in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Finally, given the changing demographic landscape of the United States, including a larger and more diverse immigrant population, interventions and treatment options should also reflect the growing needs of certain groups. Alcohol education programs need to also address individual intent and motivations while offering personalized feedback and protective behavioral strategies (Patrick et al. 2014).

myths about addiction and recovery

Getting drunk with your buddies, for example, even though you know your wife will be very upset, or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink. Your call is free and confidential, and there is no pressure to commit. If it turns out that our program is not the right fit for you, we will do whatever we can to help you find a program that meets your needs. Our main goal is to help you along your recovery journey and get you the help you need. We know that finding an addiction treatment program can be challenging. We understand this struggle, which is why we are uniquely qualified to help.

Global consumption of spirits

It’s estimated that globally, around 168,000 people died directly from alcohol use disorders in 2019. The total estimated number of deaths by country from 1990 to 2019 are found here. Across most countries the proportion of deaths attributed to alcohol consumption ranges from 2 to 10 percent. However, across a range of countries this share is much higher; across some countries in Eastern Europe nearly one-quarter of deaths are attributed to alcohol consumption. The first map shows this in terms of spirits as a share of total alcohol consumption. In many Asian countries spirits account for most of total alcohol consumption.

social drinking and drinking problem

In most countries in this region, more than 80 percent (often more than 90 percent) have never drunk alcohol. Data on the prevalence of binge-drinking by age and gender in the UK can be found here; and trends in heavy and binge-drinking in the USA here. Data on the share who drink alcohol by gender and age group in the UK is available here. This is given as the share of adults, aged 15 years and older, who have drunk alcohol within the previous year. As the map shows, the average per capita alcohol consumption varies widely across the world. Drug Use disorders are often classified within the same category as mental health disorders — research and data on mental health can be found at our entry here.

Shown in this map is the share of all crimes which are considered to be alcohol-related. Globally the rate has declined from 43 deaths per 100,000 people in the early 1990s to 35 deaths in 2017. Only slightly behind the Eastern European countries are Western European countries – including Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium – at around 12 to 14 liters.

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