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Why Do People Drink Alcohol?

Why do people drink alcohol? Read on to learn more about common reasons that people may drink, and how to seek treatment for alcoholism.

why do people drink alcohol

Article Contents

Understanding Alcohol Usage

Drinking alcohol is a very common activity in the United States. In fact, a 2018 study showed that at least 86% of adults over the age of 18 in the United States have had alcohol at least once in their life.1

When done in moderation, alcohol usage tends to be safe for most people. And because alcohol is a fermented beverage, there are even some health benefits to drinking alcohol, depending on what type of alcohol one chooses to drink. However, it is important to consider moderation when drinking alcohol, as overuse or abuse can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.2

What’s Moderate Alcohol Intake?

Moderate alcohol intake tends to be the safer and recommended level of drinking. Moderate alcohol intake is the average number of alcoholic drinks an individual can consume without increasing their risk for negative effects, including the development of alcohol use disorder. The United States government lists moderate alcohol intake as two or fewer drinks in a day for men and one or fewer drinks in a day for women. Some guidelines also go further so as to involve not drinking consecutively every day.3
Moderation is important for safe alcohol intake. There are many reasons why someone may choose to drink alcohol, but regardless of the reason, making sure not to engage in heavy or binge drinking is an essential step in reducing any risks associated with alcohol.

Common Reasons Why People Drink

There are a variety of reasons that someone may choose to drink. Often, alcohol use occurs in social settings, and it is seen as a way to enjoy events or celebrations. Alcohol may also be beneficial in these situations to help reduce the anxiety of certain events, especially if one suffers from an anxiety disorder. It can help produce relaxing effects, which make it easier to connect with those around you.

Some people may also choose to drink alone, which could be worrisome if they are doing it in excess. However, drinking alcohol, especially drinks such as wine, can be a beneficial way to destress and relax in many situations.

Additional Risk Factors and Causes of Alcohol Consumption

These are only some of the reasons that people may drink. Sometimes, alcohol can be a coping mechanism, whether healthy or unhealthy. Other reasons that someone may consume alcohol can include:
  • Following social norms
  • Helping cope with mental health disorders
  • Avoiding peer pressure, or fostering camaraderie
  • Avoiding stress
  • Partaking for fun or enjoyment
  • Loosening inhibitions
  • Coping with a divorce or break-up

Is There Any Good Reason to Drink Alcohol?

Because alcohol is often used in a social setting and is known for its dangerous side effects, many people don’t think of alcohol in terms of health unless considering the potential negative side effects. However, alcohol can actually be a way to regulate and manage health in ways you might not have thought of before.

Because alcohol is considered a depressant, it has the ability to slow certain body processes, like heart rate, and also help produce relaxation. This on its own can be beneficial in promoting cardiovascular health. However, because alcohol is produced through fermentation, beverages like wine have small amounts of healthy bacteria. These bacteria are similar to those found in probiotics, and they can help improve gut health. Certain types of alcohol can also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. 

Other Benefits

Some of the other beneficial health effects of alcohol can include:
  • Helping heart health
  • Helping balance blood sugar levels
  • Preventing kidney stones
  • Boosting sex drive
  • Getting the body more active

In moderation, alcohol can also be beneficial for your mental and social health. Because alcohol can be relaxing, it can make it easier to interact with those around you. This means that individuals may be able to better enjoy being around loved ones with reduced anxiety. However, moderation is key, as it is important that alcohol is not used to treat mental disorders but rather to boost mood and sociability occasionally when drunk for this reason. 

When Drinking Becomes a Problem

Although there are many health benefits associated with drinking alcohol, it is important to consume it in moderation. Like with any substance, too much of anything can be detrimental for the mind or body. Alcohol works in the brain as a depressant in order to impact what are known as neurotransmitters, which allow for your brain to send messages to the body. These messages are sent through electrical and chemical reactions, which alcohol can alter and slow. As a result, alcohol can be calming and even produce euphoric feelings. 

However, with overuse, alcohol can be addictive. It can also change how you’re able to handle daily interactions and responsibilities. As a result, it is important to be able to recognize when drinking becomes a problem.

Signs That You May Have a Problem

It can be difficult to realize when you or a loved one may be a problem with drinking. The fact that overuse of alcohol also impairs memory and cognitive function can also play a role in being unable to realize that you may have a problem. 

Most often, problems with alcohol are recognized by a lack of moderation. This includes heavy drinking or drinking frequently. Heavy drinking is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to include five or more alcoholic drinks for men or four or more alcoholic drinks for women in one sitting. SAMHSA also extended their definition of binge or heavy drinking to include one drink a day for a month.4

Additional Indications of Alcohol Misuse

However, overuse isn’t the only sign that a problem with alcohol may be present. In fact, there are more subtle signs of alcohol misuse, including:

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired thinking
  • Memory impairment

Treatment for Drinking Alcohol at Iris Healing®

why do people drink alcohol

In moderation, alcohol use can be safe for most people. However, this is not always the case. In certain cases, alcohol use can lead to the development of an alcohol use disorder or even addiction. While the idea of recovering from problems with drinking alcohol can be challenging, there are professional services available in order to help those who might be suffering from an alcohol use disorder or eventual addiction.

Opportunities for Wellness and Healing

Iris Healing® is dedicated to providing you or your loved one with the services you need to recover from alcohol use in a holistic environment. The professional staff here at Iris Healing® are prepared to help you along every step of your recovery journey, from the beginning steps of realizing there is a problem with drinking to eventual recovery.

Here, you can experience a variety of science-backed healthcare services focused on providing holistic healing, from physical and mental health to spiritual health. Contact us today if you or a loved one may need help.

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