Can Social Drinking Lead to Alcoholism?

Drinking is as much a part of American culture as apple pie. From the time the first Americans settled in what would soon become the United States, drinking has been widely accepted and normalized – a favorite pastime of many. The country experienced a brief interruption during the Prohibition when alcohol was banned, but since then social drinking has been accepted and condoned. Certain monumental times in life seem to be marked by alcohol. Binge drinking on your 21st birthday is almost a rite of passage, you toast with champagne on your wedding day, you celebrate with cocktails when you get a work-related promotion. The issue with social drinking is that for some, it can lead to alcoholism.

Of course, not everyone who drinks socially will eventually develop a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. For most people, drinking socially is completely safe. For those who are predisposed to substance abuse disorders, however, drinking will cause a set of long-term problems – problems that will eventually need to be treated in a professional therapeutic setting. At Recreate Life Counseling, we help men and women who suffer from alcohol addiction overcome these problems and go on to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.

Can Social Drinking Lead to Alcoholism?

What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?

What is the difference between someone who can drink normally and someone who will eventually develop an alcohol use disorder? Those who eventually begin to suffer from alcoholism will likely have a variety of underlying factors, including:

  • A genetic predisposition. This means that alcoholism runs in the family – alcoholism is a hereditary disease.
  • Environmental factors working against them. This could mean that they are living in a stressful environment, or they are surrounded by other people that drink heavily.
  • Underlying mental health issues. Those who have co-occurring psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia are more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • The age at which drinking began. It is more likely for men and women who began drinking during adolescence to develop an alcohol problem than those who started drinking later on in life. This has to do with brain development, largely.

How do you know if you are drinking socially or problem drinking? There are several signs and symptoms to look for. In most cases, those who can drink safely will learn from their mistakes. It is common for people to drink heavily once or twice and never do it again. Maybe they get sick, or maybe they blackout and make a fool of themselves. Maybe they even get behind the wheel of a car and wake up the next morning feeling guilty and ashamed. For most people, this will be enough to quit.

For others, this will be grounds for excuse-making and justification. “That cop was a jerk, I was driving straight. I shouldn’t have gotten a DUI.” “Eh, everyone blacks out and embarrasses themselves on occasion, it’s no big deal.” If you constantly make excuses for your drinking habits, you might be struggling with an alcohol-related disorder.

Recreate Life Counseling and Alcoholism Recovery

At Recreate Life Counseling, we help men and women of all ages overcome the drinking problems of all severities. We know how crippling the disease of alcoholism can be, and we are available to help. If you believe that you might have a problem but you are still not sure, we are happy to help you figure things out to the best of our ability. Our admissions counselors will be able to conduct a short assessment over the phone, geared towards helping you determine whether or not you would benefit from addiction treatment. Call us today to figure out what level of care would be most appropriate for you and your unique needs.