4 Ways Peer Pressure May Be Affecting Your Drinking Habits

Posted in: Alcohol Abuse

April 2, 2014

A group of people clinking beers

People consume alcohol for many reasons: some to relax, others to celebrate and have fun and some to fit in with a group of people. While drinking for any of these reasons can cause health problems, drinking socially can be especially risky, because peer pressure can affect drinking habits in several ways. Specifically, peer pressure can increase the likelihood of the following problems:

  • Social drinking
  • Binge drinking
  • Developing an addiction
  • Using other drugs with alcohol

Seek help to address any of these risks of alcohol abuse.

Social Drinking

Many people drink socially, which is fine as long as they only consume a few drinks. As Sarah Allen Benton explains, social drinkers drink in patterns that have low risks for addiction—female social drinkers consume no more than seven drinks per week, and no more than three drinks per day; male social drinkers consume no more than 14 drinks per week, and no more than four drinks per day. This pattern of drinking can occasionally develop into abuse or addiction, but most people can control these drinking habits.

The only people who should avoid social drinking are recovering alcoholics, as any form of drinking can lead to relapse.

Binge Drinking

Social drinking becomes a problem when people feel pressured to drink more than they normally would. When this happens, people might engage in binge drinking, which the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion. Friends can pressure you into consuming more alcohol than you normally would in the following ways:

  • Drinking a round of shots together
  • Playing drinking games
  • Encouraging you to consume “just one more” drink

These habits can lead to excessive alcohol abuse, and perhaps even addiction.

Developing an Addiction

Although social drinking alone can be harmless, drinking more than usual because of peer pressure can lead to a tolerance for alcohol and increase the chances of addiction. The NIAAA estimates that, out of the millions of Americans who drink alcohol each year, around 17 million of them have an alcohol use disorder. Many of these people began drinking only because they wanted to fit in, or because they felt pressured into drinking.

Using Other Drugs with Alcohol

When people consume alcohol, their physical and mental processes slow down. Decreased activity in the brain often leads to fewer inhibitions, which can lead to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. One of actions might be abusing drugs, which is dangerous enough on its own, but much more life-threatening when combined with alcohol.

Since the body can react to the multiple substances in dangerous and unpredictable ways, overdose and death are likely when people mix drugs.

Find More Information About Drinking and Peer Pressure

For most people, drinking alcohol is not inherently dangerous, but other people have a hard time controlling their alcohol intake, especially when their friends encourage alcohol abuse. If your friends pressure you to consume greater amounts of alcohol than an amount with which you are comfortable, then they increase your chances of harming yourself and others.

If you or someone you love struggles with drinking and peer pressure, give us a call at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators can discuss alcohol abuse treatment and help you find a treatment center that best fits your needs.

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