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Differences Between Casual Drinkers and Alcoholics

Drinking is considered pretty normal across the country and is an activity that many people enjoy. From college parties to weddings; it is popular and a part of a lot of social activities. But just like everything else, you should only enjoy it in moderation. Drinking too much can lead to health problems, dependency, and alcohol addiction. How do you know you’ve crossed the line from casual drinker into alcoholism? The line is often blurred, and it’s not just because of your intoxication level. It’s often difficult to diagnose a real alcoholic or someone with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). We’ve put together a few signs and differences between casual drinkers and alcoholics.

Alcoholic or Casual Drinker?

Many times the question is asked: Am I an alcoholic? Do I drink too much? What is the difference between casual drinkers and alcoholics? There are some key factors to look out for that can show the difference:

High Tolerance for Alcohol – Alcoholics tend to have a very high tolerance for alcohol. Casual drinkers might feel tipsy or even drunk after three glasses of wine; alcoholics might need to drink a bottle or two to get the same feeling.

Secret Drinking – Alcoholics drink in secret and might hide bottles of alcohol. They might drink at work or while driving. A person whose casual drinks don’t do these things.

Isolation – Casual drinking is often a social affair. We meet friends for a quick drink after work or go to a party. Alcohols may isolate themselves and avoid loved ones, particularly if they’re worried that people they care about may notice that they have a problem. They may also avoid situations where there won’t be any alcohol available because they need it to get through the day.

Missed Commitments and Obligations – A casual drinker can perform all the functions of daily life. They show up to work and appointments on time because they are responsible. Alcoholics may show up late to work or call in sick a lot. They may also skip out on social and family obligations.

Mood Swings – We all have days when we feel good and days when we struggle. That’s part of being human. Mood swings by themselves are not a sign of alcoholism, but frequent mood swings and irritability combined with drinking may be a sign that there’s a problem.

Physiological and Behavioral Changes – When a person drinks casually, the alcohol they consume doesn’t take precedence over self-care. The opposite is true for a person who has an alcohol addiction.

Blacking Out – Most casual drinkers have, on occasion, had too much to drink but a person who has regular blackouts and persistent memory loss due to drinking probably does have a problem and is most likely considered an alcoholic.

Risk-Taking – Alcohol consumption lowers our inhibitions. A person who casually drinks may talk a bit more or be more outspoken however, an alcoholic can drink to the point of risk-taking behavior. They might get behind the wheel of a car and drive even though they know they’ve been drinking, thus endangering themselves and other people.

Making Excuses for Drinking – Most of us have said, “I need a drink” at one time or another. We say it after a hard day at work or when we feel a lot of anxiety. That’s normal and not a warning sign of alcoholism. An alcoholic might make excuses about drinking as a way of masking their problem. For example, they might say that it’s a special occasion or that they’re stressed out. They may even claim that they’ve earned the right to drink because of their stress or for some other reason.

Alcoholism Help at Evoke Wellness MA

If you or a loved one has an alcohol problem Evoke Wellness MA can help you get your life back. At Evoke Wellness Massachusetts, we allow our clients to rest and sleep during their alcohol detox until they are feeling more energetic. Once they are physically better, the next step we take is to help them overcome their alcoholism. Although detox is the beginning of recovery for many people, it does not support the person to learn how to remain sober. Evoke Wellness Massachusetts alcohol detox treatment beings while our clients are in detox. We provide one on one counseling, small group counseling, and each client is encouraged to remain at our center for an alcohol abuse treatment program. We want to give you the building blocks to rebuild your life and maintain long-term sobriety and success.