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A social drinker is someone who drinks in social situations.
This includes events such as:
Social drinkers often consume a moderate amount of alcohol and are well within their safe drinking limits, though this isn’t always the case.
It’s important to note that social drinking habits vary from situation to situation and culture to culture. Someone with a low-risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and no health risks has less to worry about than someone at risk for a substance use disorder (SUD) or who is in poor health.
Social drinking can be OK, but it depends on the person and the amount of alcohol consumed during social drinking experiences.
Social drinking is viewed as acceptable because of the reasons people list for social drinking. For instance, common reasons for social drinking include:
Moderate social drinkers tend not to use alcohol to self-medicate mental health conditions, nor do they experience physical cravings for alcohol. However, problem social drinkers can experience these issues, especially if they consume more than moderate amounts of alcohol.
Whether or not social drinking is OK is based on the person and the reasons he or she chooses to drink.
As mentioned above, social drinking can develop into alcohol abuse. Though moderately drinking certain types of alcohol like a glass of wine offers some health benefits, it can also be dangerous. Regular drinking increases a person’s risk for:
It’s also important to note that even very limited alcohol consumption can be dangerous, depending on the circumstances. For example, drinking any amount of alcohol is dangerous if you are:
In many cases, the terms “social drinker” and “moderate drinker” are used interchangeably. But this isn’t always the case. “Moderate” deals more with the amount of alcohol a person consumes, while “social” describes the environment in which a person consumes alcohol.
Many moderate drinkers are social drinkers because they enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol when they are socializing. But in some cases, people who consider themselves social drinkers are drinking more than a healthy amount of alcohol. They refer to themselves as social drinkers because they do not drink when they are alone.
For some people, there comes a time when their social drinking turns into a problem. In some cases, this develops into being an alcoholic.
Some of the warning signs of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) include:
A person does not need to show all of these signs to have an alcohol addiction. However, in most cases, if a person considers his or her alcohol consumption a problem, or they seem to be a problem drinker, it’s smart to seek help.
If you have concerns about your alcohol consumption, try to not drink alcohol for a week or more and see how you feel. If the time spent not drinking is a struggle, seeking help is a good idea.
If you have concerns about drinking too much, but the problem has only occurred for a short time and hasn’t interfered with anything in your life, behavioral changes can help. For example:
If you or someone you know is beginning to engage in heavy drinking often, or is displaying other unhealthy drinking patterns such as blackouts from drinking alcohol, this may be a sign of substance abuse. If the effects of alcohol are beginning to hinder their productivity, giving them health issues, or changing their relationships, it may be time to seek addiction treatment.
A social drinker is someone who regularly drinks alcohol in various social situations, but drinking doesn't cause them physical, mental, or personal problems.
Social drinking is generally safe as long as the drinker stays well within their limits of safe alcohol consumption and does not engage in risky behavior.
These terms are generally interchangeable, though they have slightly different implications. Social drinking refers to someone who drinks in social settings, whereas moderate drinking refers to someone who drinks one drink a day (for women) or two drinks a day (for men).
A problem drinker is someone who experiences mental, physical, or social problems in their life due to their alcohol consumption.
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