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Casual Drinking vs. Alcoholism

Casual Drinking vs. Alcoholism

While there is a distinct difference between casual drinking and alcoholism, it may be difficult to recognize when the lines between the two get blurred. What typically defines alcoholism is a person’s relationship with alcohol, not how they appear to their peers, colleagues, and family.

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol abuse disorder, means a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol, despite its known negative impacts on their life. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 15 million people over the age of 18 have an alcohol use problem. Chronic alcohol abuse can have serious health consequences like liver damage, diabetes, and cancer. Regular overconsumption of alcohol can also lead to cell damage in the central nervous system, creating a condition known as neuropathy. This can lead to unusual sensations in the limbs, reduced mobility, and a loss of some bodily functions.

Alcoholism Warning Signs

Becoming an alcoholic doesn’t happen overnight, but there are warning signs along the way, including:

  • An inability to stop or control drinking once you start
  • Obsessively thinking about the next time you can drink alcohol
  • Repeating unwanted drinking patterns
  • Getting drunk before arriving at parties or events
  • Using alcohol as a reward
  • Living a double life by separating drinking life from professional or home life
  • Drinking more than five drinks in one sitting
  • Feeling guilt or shame about your behavior while intoxicated

What does it mean to be a casual drinker?

By contrast, people who are casual drinkers, or social drinkers, drink responsibly and do not have a history of drinking to excess or blacking out. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption for adult women is one drink per day and up to two drinks per day for men.

If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol abuse, the Alpine Recovery Lodge offers skilled, compassionate alcohol abuse rehab in Alpine, UT. Call 877-415-4060 to learn more about our programs or to schedule an appointment.