The Thin Line Between Social Drinkers And AlcoholicsSep 19th, 2011 | By Dr. Jeffrey Huttman Ph.D. | Category: Addiction Treatment, Alcohol Treatment Rehab
A person that drinks on occasion is a social drinker. When they drink, there are not bad consequences or problems that occur. If they have a drink, they don’t have any surprises. Friends don’t complain about their behavior. They don’t end up with mood swings, and they don’t start nasty fights.
Usually a social drinker really doesn’t think too much about having a drink. Alcohol isn’t constantly on their mind. Also, they don’t end up losing control or have to establish a limit because their drinking typically doesn’t go any further than having an occasional social drink.
Someone who happens to go too far with alcohol from time to time is an alcohol abuser. This can happen every once in awhile or all the time. Maybe they drink before they drive or in other hazardous situations. People who end up with DUIs usually are alcohol abusers. Eventually they begin letting home relationships and work obligations fall by the wayside.
Thoughts of alcohol begin to become more prevalent. They begin to think about it all the time and how they crave the effects of alcohol. Family members may complain a bit, but usually they deal with it. Now people have to start setting limits on how much they drink, but usually they do maintain those limits. While they are more than just a social drinker, they may not be quite out of control — yet.
Many people are surprised to find that becoming addicted to alcohol doesn’t rely on how often or how much alcohol you drink. Some people who drink every day may not be an addict. Drinking several beers as opposed to a couple doesn’t mean someone is addicted.
Usually people who are addicted show that they can’t set limits or control their drinking. Drinking takes up more of their time, and they often drink more. They may have an increased tolerance and if they don’t drink, they may have some symptoms of withdrawal.
Alcoholics may want to quit and seek alcoholism treatment, but they may not be able to succeed. Often they continue using alcohol even though they are dealing with negative consequences and problems in their lives like health and relationship issues. They begin to give up activities and responsibilities because alcohol has become the most important thing in their life.
Alcoholics tend to go into isolation, and their family and friends end up being pushed away by them. During this phase addicts deny that they have a problem and they usually can’t see what problems are occurring as a result of their alcohol use.
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