Your Path To Healing Starts at Mt. Sinai

Differences Between Social Drinking & Alcoholism

It’s not uncommon to crave a cold beer or glass of wine after a long day at work or a stressful experience. Alcohol is a part of countless people’s lives; according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.3 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime, and 55.3 percent reported they drank in the past month. Because drinking after a long day or among friends is normal in the U.S., it can be difficult to determine whether a fun pastime has ballooned into an addiction. Roughly one out of eight Americans struggles with alcoholism, according to a 2017 study published by JAMA Psychiatry.

So what is the difference between a social drinker and an alcoholic? It’s difficult to refer to hard fact and numbers, as each person’s struggle may look different. However, there are certain behaviors to be aware of that often signal an alcohol use disorder.

The definitions of casual drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism are broken down as follows:

  • Casual drinking: This refers to having an evening glass of wine, enjoying drinks with friends, having a beer at a barbecue, etc.
  • Alcohol abuse: This involves a pattern of excessive drinking, despite the negative consequences that may occur like hangovers
  • Alcoholism: A dependence or addiction to alcohol, which occurs when the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol

Many people use the terms “alcohol abuse” and “alcoholism” interchangeably, but it’s important to know that they apply to separate conditions.

Signs You May Have an Addiction

Determining whether or not your drinking is a problem involves asking yourself why you’re drinking, and if your drinking has resulted in dangerous behaviors, such as causing drunk driving accidents.

Some signs of addiction include:

  • You’re drinking with the intent of getting drunk
  • You’re putting alcohol above your responsibilities, such as work and time spent with family and friends
  • You’re hiding your drinking from loved ones
  • You’re experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness or sweating, agitation, anxiety, headaches, loss of appetite, and more

People who drink socially have the ability to keep their drinking under control, while people who are addicted to alcohol tend to not have control over their habits and will repeat destructive drinking patterns. If you identify with any of the above signs of addiction and need help, calling a detox facility can be your first step towards getting clean.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Alcoholism

Alcohol is present in everyday life and can be one of the most toxic substances to have in your system. As a result, it can be one of the most challenging addictions to quit. Fortunately, Mount Sinai Wellness Center offers a holistic addiction treatment program as well as medical detox so you can get the help you need. Our patients are also able to take part in AA and other group meetings after detoxing.

You don’t have to battle addiction on your own. Our team genuinely cares about our patients and are here to help you through what may be the darkest time in your life.

Our team at Mount Sinai Wellness Center understands what you’re going through and is here to help you work towards a sober life. Contact us online or by phone at (800) 353-4673 for assistance – we’re available 24/7.