Social Drinking Vs. Problem Drinking: Identifying the Difference (excerpt)
In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, here are some ways to determine whether you or a loved one has a drinking problem.
Recovery Centers of America, Brand Partner
March 16, 2022
From raising a toast with champagne at weddings to having a glass of wine with dinner, drinking alcohol is a normalized practice in American society, most commonly used to relax and celebrate. While not all instances of drinking are problematic, it’s important to understand your limits when using alcohol and be able to determine whether you may be abusing it.
April is Alcohol Awareness month — and in recognition of the effort to raise awareness around alcohol misuse, Recovery Centers of America is committed to helping you understand whether your drinking habits are healthy or problematic.
Here’s how to distinguish between different types of drinking, as well as the ways you can seek treatment if you or a loved one has a drinking problem.
What Is Social Drinking?
Social drinking is when one consumes alcohol in a social setting or during a social event. This could be anything from small-scale events, such as attending a birthday party or getting drinks with co-workers, to larger events such as Oktoberfest or a New Year’s Eve celebration. While social drinking may look different for each person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes alcohol use as “moderate” drinking if a female consumes one drink per day or a male consumes two drinks per day.
Social drinkers typically enjoy alcohol to relax, fit in and celebrate, but do so in low-risk patterns and on rare occasions. They have the ability to control their drinking, know when to stop drinking, do not regularly get intoxicated or black out, and never drive under the influence.
What Is Problem Drinking?
Problem drinking does not necessarily mean that a person has an addiction to or dependence on alcohol, but more so defines risky or unhealthy behaviors associated with their drinking. They may also drink to reach a desired state of mind, such as increased comfort in social situations, general feelings of happiness, feelings of relief or escape from problems or worries and feelings of importance.
On the other hand, there are those who have a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol, which is defined as alcoholism. Below, we outline the signs and symptoms of both types of problem drinking.