If you are indulging in a drink alone every once in a while, it’s most likely not a cause for concern. But, if drinking alone is something you do on a regular basis and how you cope with uncomfortable emotions or situations, it may be time to take a deeper look at your habits.
Alcoholism is a disease that isn’t always immediately apparent and that causes many individuals to sink into isolation and secrecy when it comes to drinking. Addiction can make itself known in many ways, but drinking alone is often one of the first behaviors that take hold when it comes to budding alcoholism.
Why Do People Drink Alone?
Drinking by yourself isn’t always a bad practice, especially when it’s an infrequent occurrence and only one or two drinks are consumed. However, when drinking alcohol alone becomes a regular part of an individual’s life, it can quickly become an issue and potentially lead to alcohol dependency and addiction.
There are many reasons why someone may drink alone. A few of the most common reasons that may lead someone to drink alone include:
- insomnia or problems sleeping
- wanting to escape reality
While it may seem like a good idea at the time, drinking to avoid or numb these feelings or situations does not make the problem go away. Unfortunately, drinking alone is a behavior that has become increasingly popular, and an estimated half of all Americans with a mental health disorder, such as depression, use substances like alcohol to cope.
Why Is Drinking Alcohol Alone Bad?
Drinking alone can come with many unwanted and negative consequences. In general, drinking lowers one’s inhibitions and ability to make decisions. When you drink alone, an individual is more likely to follow through on bad decisions or ideas, such as drunk driving, since there is no one around to stop him or her.
Additionally, drinking by yourself often leads to a higher consumption of alcohol. Because no one is around to monitor how much you are drinking, it’s much easier to consume a large amount of alcohol, often in a short amount of time. This is incredibly unsafe and can lead to health issues and an impaired mental state.
The more someone drinks alone, the more likely he or she is to continue this behavior. Drink by yourself can quickly have a negative impact on an individual’s life. What started as a way to cope can quickly turn into an individual’s go-to method for dealing with life. The brain and body will begin to crave alcohol and an unhealthy cycle of drinking and potentially alcoholism can set in without a person even being aware of it.
Drinking Alone At Home
Many people who drink alone do so at home. Drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad habit and can act as a “stress reliever”. However, when this becomes a regular habit and one drink turns into four or five or more, this is a warning sign that should not be taken lightly.
People drink alone at home for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a convenient place to drink without being judged by others. Some people drink alone at home due to feelings of guilt or shame regarding their drinking habits.
Another reason someone may drink alone is because he or she is socially anxious and is more comfortable in the confines of his or her own home. This form of anxiety can lead to isolation as well as a drinking habit that quickly escalates to alcoholism.
No matter the reason for drinking alone at home, if it becomes a habit or the go-to method for coping with life and emotions, it can become unhealthy and potentially dangerous. When uncontrolled, drinking alone at home can develop into an addiction to alcohol.
Drinking Alone In Public Places
While drinking alone in the comfort of one’s own home can be cause for alarm, drinking alone in public places brings about a new set of issues that can be far more dangerous. Anything can happen in a public place, including assault, drink spiking, property damage, and more. When someone is drinking alone in a public place, there is no one there to look out for him or her. This means that there is no one else around to prevent something bad from happening.
Drinking Alone And Assault
When someone is drinking alone in public, there is no friend or acquaintance around to make sure the person is safe or staying out of trouble. Solitary drinkers run the risk of being assaulted by someone else or instigating a fight or other form of assault or causing property damage.
Dangers Of Women Drinking Alone In Public
Women drinking alone in a public place can pose a threat to not just the individual’s personal health, but her overall wellbeing and safety as well. A woman drinking by herself can easily be harassed by someone without any interference. Additionally, women drinking alone run the risk of having their drinks spiked, since there is not another set of eyes looking out for the woman.
Dangers Of Men Drinking Alone
Men drinking alone in public places also run the risk of potentially dangerous situations. Men are more likely than women to pick fights or damage public property, and without friends around to stop them, solitary men are more likely to go through with these types of behaviors. Men drinking alone are more prone to making poor decisions that can potentially be dangerous or even life-threatening, such as drunk driving or other risky activities.
Increased Risk Of Drink Spiking
Drinking alone also puts an individual at an increased risk of having his or her drink spiked. A person alone at a bar or another public place is much more susceptible to this, as there is no one around to keep an eye on his or her drink or watch his or her behavior for any changes. For example, if someone’s drink is spiked and he or she suddenly starts acting strange, no one is around to notice this change or seek help.
Drinking by yourself in a public place may feel like a better alternative than drinking alone at home, but it actually comes with a number of risks and potentially dangerous outcomes.
Does Drinking Alone Make You An Alcoholic?
Having an occasional beer alone after a long day at the office does not mean you are an alcoholic. However, solo drinking on a regular basis is a different story. While drinking alone does not automatically make you an alcoholic, it can be a warning sign.
Here are some other warning signs of alcoholism:
- the inability to control alcohol intake when alone
- thinking constantly about drinking
- looking forward to drinking alone after work or school
- driving after drinking
- missing work or school due to drinking
- hiding or lying about how much you are drinking
If these warning signs sound like what you are going through, it may be time to consider whether you are an alcoholic. At the very least, it’s important to address these behaviors and acknowledge that they may be leading you down a dangerous path.