Social Drinking vs. Alcoholism: Understanding the Difference

What’s the difference between social drinking and alcoholism? Does having a drink or two too many on certain occasions mean that you have a drinking problem?

When it comes to substance dependence and abuse, things aren’t always clear-cut. There are nuances and a wide spectrum that can make it difficult to spot problematic behavior, but there are a few differences that can help you understand the levels of drinking better.

What Is “Social Drinking,” Really?

The social element is key to casual drinking. While it’s true that social drinkers drink alcohol to relieve stress and relax after a hard day at work, the people that surround them and the activities they do together (dancing, watching a movie, or simply hanging out) are often more enjoyable than the drink itself.

A social drinker doesn’t turn to alcohol every time they get stressed and they don’t let this habit interfere with their work, family, or other relationships.

While a lot of social drinkers will associate drinking with having fun at first, most of them will understand that the price they have to pay isn’t always worth it and that there are other ways to relax and unwind after a stressful week.

Problem Drinking as described by Rehab South Africa

People with an alcohol problem drink more than they should, can’t predict when they will stop, and can’t control their behavior while under the influence. Most alcoholics drink every day and their habits affect their work and family and social relationships.

Signs That You May Have a Drinking Problem

Here are some warning signs that it may be time to deal help:

  • You’re Drinking Frequently

Not only that you are drinking almost daily, but you can’t control your desire to drink.

  • You’re Drinking Until You Are Drunk

Unlike social drinkers who drink to unwind and have a bit of fun, you keep drinking until inebriated.

  • Use Alcohol As a Coping Mechanism

There is a difference between having a drink after a hard day to relax and drinking to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

  • Your Drinking Problem Is Affecting Your Life

You are having troubles at work because of missed deadlines; your relationships are suffering too because you are lying to your loved ones to hide your addiction; you are also getting into financial problems because of your addiction.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to understand is that alcoholism is a disease and like any other disease you will need socialized help to get cured. Alcoholism isn’t a failure or lack of willpower – it’s a disease.

Once you understand this, you can get the help you need. Your healthcare provider can help you find a rehab center that is the right fit for your addiction. There, you will get the proper treatment for your disease and learn some effective coping mechanisms that will help you stay away from alcohol. will assist you from start to finish.