When Is Drinking Alone a Problem?

What Happens When You Drink Alone?

When someone drinks alone, it can be a sign that drinking is used to self-medicate emotional and mental problems – especially when they are heavy drinking, defined as 15 or more standard drinks for men a week and eight drinks for women per week.

Drinking alone can indicate alcoholism and mental health problems and can be present in a person with an active addiction. According to various university studies, drinking alone in adolescents can strongly predict alcohol use disorder developing later in life.

When drinking alcohol alone becomes frequent, it can further isolate a person common in alcohol addiction and lead them to lie about their alcohol use to their loved ones to hide the escalation of their drinking problem further.

For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.

Why People Drink Alone

There are many reasons that someone may drink alone; some may be benign, while others may be detrimental to the person’s mental and physical health. The following are some of the reasons people may consume alcohol alone:

  • Unwind at the end of the day
  • Enjoy the taste of alcohol
  • Drinking to ease boredom
  • Drinking to relieve negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, or depression
  • Drink before attending a social event to help them relieve social anxiety
  • Drinking to improve your mood
  • Some people have alcohol use disorder and drink to sustain their drinking habit, avoid withdrawal symptoms, and satisfy cravings.

When heavy drinking takes place alone, it’s only a matter of time before the situation escalates, potentially leading to alcohol addiction and all associated problems.

Does Drinking Alone Mean You’re an Alcoholic?

Drinking alone is not by itself mean that people are alcohol abusers. As discussed above, there are reasons people drink alone that don’t mean they are drinking because they are addicted. Some key differences include how much a person drinks, how frequently they drink, whether they hide their drinking from others by drinking alone, and whether they also have other common signs of alcohol use disorder.

It is a combination of factors that a mental health professional should assess but in short, if a person is a heavy drinker (15 drinks per week for men and 8 for women), then given enough time, the problem will likely result in alcohol addiction and addiction risk factors can accelerate this process.

When Is it Time to Seek Help for Alcohol?

Heavy or binge drinking alone and hiding that drinking from others is one of the possible signs of alcohol use disorder. However, alcohol use disorder requires more than just these factors to determine if there is a mental health disorder known as addiction present. Some of the other signs include:

  • Losing interest in hobbies
  • Withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Tolerance
  • Social problems
  • Unable to control how much or how often they drink
  • Several attempts to quit
  • Much time is spent drinking and recovering
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Craving alcohol
  • Mental and physical health problems don’t result in stopping
  • Risky use such as while driving or leading to unprotected sex

With two or three signs, mild alcohol use disorder is present. Four to five means a moderate addiction is present, and six or more is severe alcoholism. Of course, these should be diagnosed by a professional.

Get the help you or a loved one needs to stop drinking by calling The River Source. We will assess the potential for alcohol use disorder and provide you with comprehensive long-term alcohol addiction treatment at our rehab center. Call us today at 866-294-9331 to discover more on how we can help you manage your addiction.

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