Alcohol Consumption Does Not Necessarily Indicate Dependence

Alcohol Consumption Does Not Necessarily Indicate Dependence


Your level of alcohol consumption can help to indicate to you what your level of drinking problem or alcoholism might be, but of course it is a little trickier than that.  It is not really helpful to say “This person drinks a fifth of liquor at a time, therefore they are an alcoholic,” or “this person drinks a six pack 3 to 4 nights each week, therefore, they have a drinking problem, but they are not really addicted to alcohol.”  We cannot make generalizations or blanket statements like this, because it is not always about how much we drink or how frequently.  Let’s take a closer look at this idea.

For instance, look at the typical behavior of some college age people who tend to party a lot.  They might do a lot of heavy drinking, and binge drinking, without really being addicted to alcohol at all.  Many college students go through this phase without being a lifelong alcoholic.  They have extremely heavy consumption of alcohol for several years, and yet they are not addicted to alcohol and may not even have a drinking problem at all. They are just at a phase in life where they are drinking heavily for a time.

beer pong
Creative Commons License photo credit: courtneyrae312

Then consider another person, this one a middle aged woman who stays at home and has sent all of her children off to college.  She does not work and starts to fill her time with more and more drinking throughout the day.  She may only sip wine and consume less than a half a bottle each day, and yet she may still be an alcoholic (or at least slowly turn into one).  She is drinking far, far less than the college students who party it up, and yet she has the serious problem whereas they go on to live normal lives and not become addicted.  What is the difference?  The difference is simply that she is alcoholic and they are not, even though they are drinking heavily at times.  Heavy consumption does not equate to alcoholism or even drinking problems, necessarily.

That being said, there is a cautionary note attached to all of this for anyone who does drink heavily, for any length of time.  Doing so obviously will increase the likelihood of drinking problems or addiction developing, though as we have seen, this is not always going to be the case.  Just understand that the quantities that are consumed do not necessarily indicate much, if anything at all.  We have to look deeper than that.