Social Drinking vs Binge Drinking

What Is the Difference Between Social and Binge Drinking?

Courtesy of Defining Wellness Centers

Have you ever noticed that just about every movie or television show you watch shows someone drinking alcohol at some point? Social drinking is so ingrained in society that you might wonder if it’s normal for someone to drink at every party or evening dinner. In fact, people seem to push others to have a drink, and it’s hard to know what to do when someone puts a glass of champagne in your hand and declares a toast.

According to the CDC, moderate drinking is defined as being no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women. While this might be the safest way to avoid having alcohol have a negative impact on your health, it’s also safe to say that many people consume more than this recommended amount. So, how do you know when your social drinking has crossed over into binge drinking? The answer to this question can get complicated, but exploring a few key differences between the two can help you know if you need to reach out for professional help.

Know the Common Characteristics of a Social


For most people, there’s nothing wrong with having one or two drinks over the course of a dinner or celebratory event. Yet, it’s also difficult to say when a person has moved beyond social drinking since there are a significant number of differences between how your body processes alcohol along with how you feel emotionally about drinking. In most instances, it’s fairly safe to define social drinking as when you’re able to stay within the recommended daily limits for adults.

There are a few other signs of social drinking that you can use to check on your relationship with alcohol. For example, people who drink socially wouldn’t think much about drinking unless they’re at a social event or having a single drink during dinner. Social drinkers would also not necessarily need to have an alcoholic beverage to feel like they’re having a good time. They also manage to stay in control over their behavior and remember what they did and said the next day.

Pay Attention to These Signs of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking clearly involves going over the daily recommended amount. However, how do you know if one or two extra drinks have led to this happening? A drinking binge occurs when your alcohol consumption leads to your blood alcohol content (BAC) going over 0.08%. At this point, you would be feeling a sense of impairment. You’re also in no condition to drive. Your speech might be slurred, and you could be dealing with a lack of coordination.

There isn’t an exact set amount of drinks that you can count to know when you reach this level since your body weight and sex can affect how quickly your BAC rises. Generally, it takes around five or more standard drinks for men and four standard drinks for women in two hours to hit this point.

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