Social drinking occurs when individuals consume alcohol in a social setting to celebrate an occasion, kick back after a hard day of work, or feel like they are a part of a group. Also referred to as “responsible drinking,” social drinkers do not have the intent of becoming intoxicated when they consume alcohol. Social drinking is a common part of life in many cultures around the world, and drinking in moderation is viewed as socially acceptable in these societies. Though there are many times when the inevitable happens and social drinking becomes alcoholism.
When these casual nights drinking with friends become an everyday occurrence for the individual, they begin drinking alone to deal with their problems, and the amount of alcohol they are consuming becomes dangerous to their physical and mental health, the social drinker may have developed a drinking problem. If you are wondering if your adult child’s social drinking has become alcoholism, you first need to become aware of what alcoholism is, as well as the signs of it.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the worst and most dangerous form of problem drinking, and it is defined as, “an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency.” Individuals with alcoholism experience uncontrollable desires to consume alcohol, and it can lead to detrimental effects for their physical and/or mental health, relationships with other people, financial stability, and more.
It is common for individuals in their 20s to begin experimenting with social drinking. If they start in college, for example, it is important that they become aware of the potential for alcoholism to form post-graduation if their habits become extreme. Drinking to accompany fun nights with friends can lead to drinking in order to cope with a stressor. Social drinking becomes alcoholism if alcohol consumption becomes more frequent and severe.
What are the Signs of When Social Drinking Becomes Alcoholism?
Your child may have alcoholism if they have:
- Spent an abundance of time drinking or recovering from consuming excessive amounts of alcohol
- Tried to stop drinking but couldn’t
- Lied about their alcohol habits
- Experienced withdrawal symptoms if they didn’t have alcohol
- Been caught drinking alone on numerous occasions
- Ended up drinking more than they initially planned on at the beginning of the night
- Ended up drinking for a longer period of time than expected
- Stopped engaging in their usual hobbies and activities in order to drink more
- Feel uncontrollable needs to drink
- Noticed that drinking affects their personal life
- Kept drinking even though it was causing health problems or contributing to an existing health problem
- Been drinking to the point of interfering with their work and personal obligations
- Been in trouble with the law as a result of their alcohol consumption
- Been in unsafe situations as a result of drinking
- To keep drinking more and more in order to feel alcohol’s effects
Withdrawal symptoms can occur within an individual who has alcoholism when they do not consume alcohol for a period of time. These effects may include insomnia, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, depression, nausea, sweating, restlessness, or irritability. More severe withdrawal symptoms in a person with alcoholism may include seizures, extreme fevers, or even hallucinations. If you notice that your child is experiencing any of these symptoms when they go without consuming alcohol for a period of time, they may have formed alcoholism.
How Do People Develop an Alcohol Addiction?
There are many possible causes for why an individual starts depending on alcohol in the first place. Even though social drinking innocently starts out as just a social activity, the reasons why social drinking becomes alcoholism can be biological to genetic, environmental to social. Some people are more likely to form alcoholism than others, so when trying to determine whether or not your adult child has formed a problem, see if these causes could be prevalent in their life:
Stress — have you noticed that your child is commonly stressed with work, family, or other situations that arise in life? Many people use alcohol as a way to cope with the stress that they face daily.
Peer pressure — If your child’s friends are drinking, it is more likely that your child will, too. Social influences can greatly contribute to social drinking, which can further put your child down the path to alcoholism.
Media acceptance — Is your child one to be swayed by the media? Since alcohol and drinking is depicted as enjoyable in media like TV and movies, your child may be influenced by what they see.
Other health problems — Health problems, whether they are physical or mental, may be the reason that your child is using alcohol. Some people use alcohol to cope with their various medical problems.
Marketing and advertising — Everybody sees alcohol advertised to them from a young age throughout all media outlets. Your child may have seen these campaigns and have been influenced by them.
Genetics — If there is a history of alcoholism in your family, this may be more of a reason why your child may have formed a problem. In addition to the problem having biological influences, your child being surrounded by alcohol as they were growing up can lead to the formation of their alcoholism as an adult.
Availability — Alcohol seems to be readily available, from small stores to supermarkets, depending on where you live. Since alcohol is very available, especially when your child is out with their friends, they may be more likely to form a drinking problem.
How Can you Treat Alcoholism?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Addiction is a treatable disease. Research in the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of evidence-based interventions that help people stop abusing drugs and resume productive lives.” There are many different treatments that your child can pursue to help their alcoholism. With detoxification, counseling, nutrition and fitness planning, education, aftercare programs, and other inpatient and outpatient forms of treatment, your child will be able to achieve long-term sobriety and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
If you are concerned about your child’s potential struggle with alcoholism, don’t wait any further to inquire about treatment options. Call Stop Your Addiction today to learn about the various forms of treatment available for your unique needs. With Stop Your Addiction by your side, long-term recovery from when social drinking becomes alcoholism is only a phone call away!