Drinking alcohol is one of humanity’s oldest traditions. Because alcohol is legal, easy to get, and central to many social practices, it’s difficult to tell when social drinking becomes alcoholism. Fortunately, alcohol addiction treatment programs can help. By assessing a drinker’s behaviors, thought patterns, and addiction triggers, alcohol rehab programs provide people with the support they need to embrace recovery from an alcohol use disorder.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol dependency, contact Atlanta Detox Center today. Our team can help you explore the differences between a social drinker vs. an alcoholic. Learn more about the benefits of our alcohol addiction treatment program at 470.450.2355 or visit us online now.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Like any addiction, a dependency on alcohol occurs when the brain and body rely on alcohol for chemical processing. For many people, drinking alcohol can be a way to self-soothe difficult emotions, stress, and memories. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it immediately slows down the body’s functions. This results in loss of coordination, slow reaction times, and the mellow feeling that comes with a drink.
While these sensations may bring temporary relief, the depression of the nervous system can make depression and other mood disorders worse when the effects of alcohol wear off. When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, their brain and body experience withdrawal symptoms when they go for too many hours without alcohol in their bloodstream. Many people may think that someone can quit using alcohol cold turkey and overpower their addiction with willpower. However, dependency occurs on a chemical level in the brain that cannot be overcome by sheer willpower.
Social Drinker vs. an Alcoholic
Sometimes it’s challenging to know when social drinking becomes a habit or when a habit becomes an addiction. So what is the difference between an alcoholic vs. a social drinker? Social drinking is incredibly common today and a significant part of many people’s lives. However, there are some warning signs that social drinking has taken a turn towards dependency.
These signs include:
- Mood swings
- Craving alcohol
- Thinking about alcohol
- Secretive drinking
- Drug-seeking behavior
- Sweating, shaking, confusion without alcohol
Social drinking implies enjoying alcohol with others. Drinking alone is often an early sign of alcohol habit and addiction. Secretive drinking, obsessing over alcohol, or negative thought patterns that resolve with alcohol may also be signs of addiction.
What’s the Difference Between an Alcoholic and a Functioning Alcoholic?
There are many misconceptions about addiction. Many believe that those living with alcoholism or other addictions struggle to function in society. In reality, many people living with addiction have jobs, families, schoolwork, and active social lives. A functioning alcoholic may hide their drinking well, or they may believe drinking enhances the way they work or socialize. They may also drink but exhibit no signs of intoxication because they have developed a high alcohol tolerance. They may not experience hangovers and may continue drinking throughout the day.
Functioning alcoholics and alcoholics both consume more alcohol than is recommended on a daily or weekly basis. Both experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop drinking. When someone with an addiction attempts to stop using cold turkey, they have a greater risk of relapse and overdose when quitting alone.
Explore the Differences Between a Social Drinker vs. an Alcoholic at Atlanta Detox Center
If you’re concerned your drinking habits have turned to dependency, Atlanta Detox Center can help. Our Georgia-based addiction treatment center features inpatient drug and alcohol rehab for every state of addiction treatment. We pair medically assisted detox and psychological services with stress management.
Unlike other centers, our added focus on mitigating and reducing daily stress helps our clients re-enter the world grounded and centered. Our Atlanta Detox Center staff members provide compassionate care and perspective to help our clients thrive. Learn more about the benefits of our alcohol addiction treatment programs by completing our online form or calling us at 470.450.2355 today.