For many, alcohol is a part of life; from celebrations to commiserations, a drink is often close at hand. However, your relationship with alcohol is complex and multifaceted, and it’s important to understand when your drinking habits might be more harmful than helpful. When it comes to addressing binge drinking, professional help is crucial.

What Are the Types of Drinking?

Before we can recognize when our drinking might be veering into problematic territory, it’s important to understand the different ways people consume alcohol.

Social Drinking

This is the most common, often taking place in a relaxed, social environment such as a bar or gathering. The purpose is to enhance the experience of the event rather than the consumer becoming intoxicated.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking can be deceptive, often starting with the intent to have a ‘few drinks’ and ending with excessive consumption over a short period. This kind of drinking can lead to serious health and safety implications.

Solo Drinking

Consuming alcohol alone doesn’t immediately indicate a problem, as many people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer as a way to unwind from the day. However, doing this frequently can be an indication of reliance on alcohol for stress relief or managing mood.

Habitual Drinking

When drinking is a daily activity, it crosses into a regular habit. While someone may not be binge drinking, the cumulative effect on health and lifestyle can be substantial.

Problematic Drinking

This extends beyond standard or habitual drinking and includes behaviors like drinking in the morning to get over hangovers, hiding drinking habits, or the inability to stop drinking without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.


Alcoholism represents a severe, chronic disorder characterized by a strong focus on alcohol, including a loss of control and destructive behaviors. It is an illness that requires medical intervention.

Now that we understand the variations in drinking behavior, we can explore what separates a habit from a problem.

When to Seek Help for Problematic Drinking Habits

Recognizing that your relationship with alcohol may be becoming problematic is challenging, but there are clear signs that it’s time to seek help. If you find alcohol is beginning to impact your daily life, health, or relationships, then professional help is highly recommended. Signs it’s time to get help for problematic drinking can include:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school due to drinking
  • Using alcohol in situations where it is physically hazardous, such as driving or swimming
  • Continuing to drink even when it causes interpersonal problems, like fights with family or friends
  • Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of alcohol use
  • Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress, to the detriment of other coping mechanisms
  • Prioritizing drinking over other activities and responsibilities

It’s important to note that these signs represent a spectrum, and the presence of one or more does not definitively mean you have alcohol use disorder. However, if you find they resonate with your current situation, seeking alcohol addiction treatment can be the most caring step you take for yourself and those around you.

Get Professional Help to Overcome Alcohol Addiction Today

The dangers of not seeking help for problematic drinking can be severe. From liver disease to social isolation, the impact on one’s life can be far-reaching. By avoiding or delaying seeking an addiction treatment program, individuals continue to experience the harm of alcohol without finding the means to manage or control it. Don’t wait. Get the help you need today.