A group of people who should be asking, "What is social drinking?"

What Is Social Drinking?

You may have heard of the term “social drinking” but not quite understood exactly what it meant. So, what does social drinking mean? Is it drinking heavily at parties or events, or does a beer at dinner also count as social drinking? If you drink in the company of others but do not get drunk, is it still social drinking? Learning more about what constitutes social drinking and whether it can be dangerous or lead to addiction can help you address alcohol issues early on.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s alcohol consumption, reach out to Promises Right Step Hill Country. Our addiction treatment programs will benefit those experiencing any level of dependence or addiction. Call us at 1.844.675.1628 to learn which of our treatment plans are right for you.

What Is Social Drinking?

Social drinking is not about consuming large quantities of alcohol, getting intoxicated, or engaging in risky drinking behaviors. So then, what does social drinking mean? It refers to a moderate use of alcohol in social settings, such as:

  • Parties
  • Weddings
  • Dinners
  • Holiday gatherings
  • Other social events

Social drinking is often associated with relaxation, stress reduction, and enhancing sociability. It is also considered low-risk drinking because drinking socially is typically done in moderation. Moderation means up to two drinks per occasion for men and one drink per occasion for women. For the sake of clarity, one drink consists of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Is Social Drinking Dangerous?

Social drinking does not usually pose a significant danger if done in moderation. However, excessive drinking can lead to serious harm. Excessive drinking behaviors, like binge drinking or heavy drinking, involve consuming more than moderate quantities of alcohol. 

A person who drinks socially may consume more alcohol than they usually would if pressured by others or are given stronger drinks than they are accustomed to.

And even if a person does practice moderate drinking, it could slowly lead to dependence over time if they drink consistently. For example, a woman may develop a tolerance to her nightly glass of wine and start to need a second glass to help take the edge off stressful work days.

The Risks of Social Drinking

As mentioned, social drinking is generally safe as long as one consumes in moderation. But if one regularly engages in social drinking over the long term, it can lead to the following risks:

  • Increased chances of being involved in an auto accident or being arrested for drunk driving if you drive while under the influence
  • Susceptibility to accidents and injuries, such as falls, cuts, burns, and other accidents that may occur when your coordination is impaired
  • Potential health problems since long-term alcohol consumption can affect liver, cardiovascular, and cognitive function

Many people assume that if a person does not drink excessively, there is no harm. However, it is important to remember that even social or moderate drinking can be a gateway to increased tolerance, alcohol dependence, and heavy drinking.

Also, if you have a family history of alcohol addiction or any type of substance use disorder, you may be more vulnerable to addiction yourself. Be especially cautious of your consumption to prevent social drinking from developing into a serious problem.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction at Promises Right Step Hill Country

Social drinking can be a way to relax and have fun with your loved ones, but it does come with some risks. If you struggle to maintain moderate drinking, you may have developed a dependence on alcohol. Contact the professionals at Promises Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 to schedule an intake assessment and learn how we can help you overcome alcohol addiction.

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