It is a trend these days among drinkers to classify themselves as “social drinkers”, which means they project themselves as the ones who do not like to drink on their own but may do so with family, friends, colleagues, and others.
However, the problem is many hide their habitual drinking habit behind the “social drinker” tag. In fact, even if they a person is a social drinker, there are high chances that they might become problem drinkers, especially in a scenario when excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of death in the United States, amounting to around 88,000 deaths every year.
So the question remains how to draw a clear line between social drinking and problem drinking. And for this, it is important to understand what exactly is counted as “normal” as there’s a huge disagreement over what should be a “normal” when it comes to alcohol consumption.
Any amount of drinking can be harmful, whether you are a social drinker or a moderate drinker. According to a study titled, Alcohol Consumption, Left Atrial Diameter, and Atrial Fibrillation, “There’s growing evidence that moderate alcohol intake may be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the world, but the mechanism by which alcohol may lead to atrial fibrillation is unknown.”
When Social Drinking Becomes Problematic
The problem with social drinking is that there is no clear parameter to identify how much is too much. Even if you are a social drinker or occasional drinker but when you drink, you drink heavily, you will land in problematic territory sooner or later.
While for men, anything over 14 drinks in a week and more than four drinks a day is considered heavy drinking, women qualify for the same with more than three drinks a day and seven drinks in a week. “Binge drinking is also unhealthy, defined as reaching a blood alcohol level of 0.08. This level can be reached for most people by four or five drinks in a two-hour span,” suggest experts.
Moreover, other signs such as drinking unnecessarily, like when you are feeling guilty about your alcohol consumption, or drinking while taking a medication, or failing at goals to cut back or stop drinking, lying about how much you drink, hiding alcohol consumption, sneaking drinks, or making excuses or reasons to go drink may also indicate problematic drinking in making.
In case when someone starts to feel shaky or anxious after not drinking for around 12 hours is a strong indication he or she is at the verge of becoming dependent on alcohol.
Treating alcohol addiction
The misconception that moderate drinking causes no harm stems from the ambivalent attitude people have towards alcoholism or alcohol abuse. Even occasional but heavy drinking may result in higher tolerance for alcohol which means that they need to drink more to experience the same feeling of high as felt in the past.
Alcohol addiction can be treated with timely treatment. If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, contact our 24/7 Recovery Helpline. Call our 24-hour drug helpline 855-441-4405 and speak to a member to know about specialized programs customized to suit your treatment goals.