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A weekend alcoholic drinks lightly or moderately throughout the week, or not at all, and binge drinks on the weekends. Binge drinking is the consumption of many alcoholic beverages in a short time.
According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among the 138.5 million alcohol drinkers, 44.4% reported binge drinking in the past month.1
There are three levels of problem drinking defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Light and moderate drinking to heavy drinking and alcohol abuse is a broad spectrum. There are, however, some key differences between someone who is a social drinker and a functional alcoholic.
A social drinker enjoys alcohol with companions, like friends, family members, or coworkers.
Social drinking is mostly about celebrating life and enjoying social settings rather than forgetting troubles or masking inner turmoil. They may enjoy an alcoholic beverage to relieve stress but don’t rely on it consistently.
Social drinkers don’t allow alcohol to affect their commitments, relationships, and obligations. They can also choose when to drink rather than allowing an urge for alcohol to control them.
A functional alcoholic, also called a high functioning alcoholic, is dependent on alcohol but still functions normally in society.
Functional alcoholics don’t allow drinking to affect their commitments, obligations, and relationships. Often, they can continue to manage areas of their lives, such as family, homes, jobs, and more.
Functional alcoholics usually struggle with obsessive thoughts about their next drink, cravings, and failure to quit.
There are nine signs and symptoms of a weekend alcoholic. However, even with weekend drinking, it’s possible to become addicted or to form a significant dependency on alcohol.
One sign of weekend alcoholism is when it’s used as a reward system. For example, a person indulging in heavy weekend drinking after a big promotion or exciting life event.
Another sign of weekend alcohol dependence is not being able to stop drinking. Once one begins drinking, they may start to crave more drinks, which can quickly add up.
Waking up with guilt after a night of weekend drinking may signify weekend binge drinking. Also, if a person sets a goal to only have one or two drinks but instead drinks all weekend long, they may have an issue with their alcohol consumption.
Sometimes, weekend drinkers find themselves stuck in a cycle: drinking alcohol to excess, experiencing guilt the day after, then repeating the process the following weekend.
A weekend alcoholic may act differently sober than after alcohol consumption. Weekend drinking to help ease the anxiety of social situations may be considered an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It could also imply that they’re self-medicating.
The need or desire to drink alcohol from morning until night to avoid a preexisting hangover may be another sign of an AUD.
Failure to succeed at work and the inability to advance in a career due to heavy weekend drinking is a sign of weekend alcoholism.
A weekend drinker may call out of work often. Or, they may be unable to operate at work professionally on a Monday after a big weekend of drinking.
Someone who is a weekend alcoholic often looks forward to the weekend specifically so they can consume alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, this may cause unwanted thoughts and cravings for alcohol throughout the week.
Weekend drinking may negatively affect relationships with family and friends. This may be due to different behavior while drunk or an inability to make time for loved ones.
Lying about drinking habits may point to being embarrassed by how much a person consumes. Often, this points to a struggle with alcohol intake on the weekends.
Although weekend alcoholics only usually indulge in heavy drinking on the weekends, there are still health risks. In addition, drinking more than four drinks in a night can increase the chances of addiction, leading to the need for addiction treatment.
Some risks of being a weekend alcoholic include:
There are eight ways to help curb alcohol use if a person believes their drinking habits on the weekend are excessive.
Consider other solutions other than alcohol to reward life accomplishments. This could include taking a trip or an exciting purchase.
Choose a set number of drinks to consume when indulging in alcohol.
A diary may help track the number of drinks consumed daily or weekly.
Avoid storing alcohol in the house to make it less readily available.
Try to consciously slow down the rate of drinking. This may help reduce the number of drinks you consume.
Avoid people or scenarios where it will be hard to avoid weekend binge drinking. Create space between people who may peer pressure others to drink.
Ask family and friends for support to help slow down drinking habits. Also, consider attending group therapy programs to engage with like-minded people.
Stay busy. Pick new hobbies that may help replace other activities where drinking occurs typically.
The way people consume alcohol and the different levels of abuse are a broad spectrum. Weekend alcoholics fall in line somewhere between binge drinkers and heavy drinkers. Often, they participate in some level of heavy and binge drinking combined.
Although some consider weekend drinking casual, it can often be classified as alcohol abuse. If weekend drinking seems like a problem, contact a professional.
If you think you may have a problem with drinking, go to an open AA meeting and talk to some alcoholics there. See if you recognize any similarities.
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