Alcohol consumption: Social event or addiction?

When is the last time you had a drink containing alcohol? Perhaps you're a social drinker who is careful to completely abstain from alcohol whenever you know you'll be driving a car. Maybe you drink on a more regular basis but still feel like it doesn't adversely affect your life in any way. Then again, you might be one of many Tennessee residents who are currently battling addiction.  

If so, you hopefully have built a strong support system to help you overcome your problem. There are many reasons people drink alcohol, and it is quite possible to do so in a responsible manner that puts no one at risk for harm. When things get out of hand, alcohol consumption can have serious negative consequences. In fact, some people have faced serious legal problems even after only a drink or two.

Some say it helps relieve stress 

After a long, challenging work week, do you look forward to kicking back and having a drink or two with friends? If so, you may be among those who say that drinking helps them relieve stress. The effects of alcohol on your brain may make you feel more at ease and relaxed, especially in social situations. The following list includes other issues people often cite as reasons for drinking alcohol: 

  • Peer pressure isn't always an issue isolated among the youth of our society. Many adults say they feel like they have to drink to fit in with colleagues at work or college friends, or even in some family settings. 
  • Some people say having a couple drinks helps them feel more confident. When it comes to dating, many also say it helps them feel more attractive or makes others more attractive to them. 
  • If you drink to try to forget your problems, you are definitely not alone in your choices. Drinking to escape the more negative aspects of life is a common reason many people give when someone asks them why they drink.  

Problems that can arise 

Beyond wearing on your wallet, alcohol can become a problem in your life for various reasons, including one or more of the following:  

  • If you have an addictive personality, you might suffer substance abuse and have trouble trying to kick your alcohol habit. 
  • Alcohol can adversely affect your physical health, especially your liver. 
  • If a police officer thinks you've had too much to drink at the wheel, he or she might pull you over. If the officer determines probable cause, such as if you fail a field sobriety test, you might wind up in jail. 
  • If prosecutors think there are grounds, they may file criminal charges for DUI against you.  

These examples show many ways in which alcohol can impede your ability to fully enjoy your life. If you drink, it doesn't necessarily mean any of these things will happen, but if something does go wrong, especially regarding legal matters, you can tap into local resources for support.

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