The Difference between Social Drinking and Alcohol Addiction

what is alcoholismWhat is alcoholism? When it comes right down to it, do you really know the answer? Many people aren’t entirely certain where social drinking ends and actual alcohol addiction begins. Often the process of sliding from one into the other is not so clear cut and takes place gradually, rather than all of a sudden.

Just because you only drink socially or during the weekends doesn’t mean that you aren’t dependent on alcohol. The question is, then, how do you know if you’ve crossed the line? Although there isn’t one narrow or steadfast definition of someone experiencing drinking problems, it is evident that when consumption of alcohol leads to great risk, relationship or social issues, accidents, physical damage or mental health issues, then clearly there is a drinking problem.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcohol addiction and alcohol dependency are other names for alcoholism. It is a long-lasting and progressive condition that involves problems with controlling alcohol intake, being consumed with alcohol, continuing to drink alcohol despite the problems it causes, or having symptoms of withdrawal without alcohol intake. Those who suffer from alcoholism can’t predict the amount of alcohol they will consume, how long they will consume alcohol, or the consequences from their alcohol consumption.

What is Alcoholism vs. Social Drinking?

People often have different definitions as to what social drinking is. Generally, a social drinker is someone who drinks occasionally, doesn’t need alcohol to enjoy, doesn’t get into trouble due to alcohol, and doesn’t do or say things while drinking that they will end up regretting.

Think of social drinking as casual drinking in a social setting without the intention of becoming drunk. More importantly, social drinkers don’t feel compelled to monitor their alcohol consumption, as they don’t drink that much to begin with. Nevertheless, in order to truly understand what social drinking is, it is also important to know the determining factors of alcoholism, as described above. It is also important to keep in mind that even social drinkers can experience alcohol related issues. The reason being is that alcohol is a toxin and regardless of the amount you consume, it can damage your body.

Is Your Occasional Drinking Turning into Addiction?

what is alcoholismIf you aren’t certain whether you are simply drinking socially or are actually suffering from alcohol dependency, examining the often difficult what is alcoholism question more closely should give you a clearer picture. Here are some signs that indicate you may need to seek help, as you are likely facing an alcohol problem.

  •  You drink alone or drink secretly.
  • You become irritable when there is no alcohol available.
  • You can’t control the volume of alcohol you drink.
  • You are experiencing finance, employment, relationship or legal problems due to alcoholism.
  • You forget commitments or conversations.
  • You suffer from physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as perspiration and nausea, when you aren’t drinking alcohol.

When asking “what is alcoholism?” it’s important to stress that the boundaries between social drinking and alcoholism are rarely distinct. Alcoholism is a disorder that is neurologically based and as such, needs to be treated. Support is key. Treatment for alcoholism is best tackled with the help of professionals with expert training in therapy and counseling, accessible through programs designed specifically to confront the challenges of alcohol dependency and addiction.

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