What motivates people to drink

Given all the risks and negative effect that alcohol has, you may be wondering, Why would anyone drink?? That’s a good question as a recent large scale review on the detrimental effects of alcohol concluded:

“[T]hat the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero.”

(Source: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2.pdf)

As such, the researchers suggested that more effort should be made to encourage all people, not just teenagers, not to drink at all. But, the reality is, people do drink, in the western culture it is socially acceptable. So you may be wondering why?

DID YOU KNOW? Some cultures treat alcohol consumption by minors differently than in the United States. In Europe, although illegal to sell alcohol to minors, it is not uncommon for teens to share a glass of wine in their homes with their families.  Many people believe that this causes a healthier attitude about alcohol—that teens learn from their family how to consume alcohol in a social environment and in healthy amounts. Other people feel it sends the wrong message to youth: that it’s OK to drink when you are young. Whatever you and your family believe, remember that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal in the U.S.

Some young adults report that they drink for social reasons: to increase the amount of fun they have with their friends. They view it as a social bonding experience.

Others report that they drink to feel more socially accepted. With this mindset, people are drinking to fit in, not just to have a nice time with their friends. They wouldn’t normally drink, but may have a glass of wine or sip a bit for a toast to celebrate a special occasion. 

However, some young adults do drink specifically to feel the effects of alcohol. They want to escape or they like the feeling of being “high” so they drink with the intent to experience being intoxicated. A lot of college students could be classified with this motivation and it does put someone at risk for binge drinking.

Additionally, many people use alcohol to relieve stress, deal with anxiety or manage depression. Alcohol can make you feel more relaxed and it can also numb out painful feelings. While this may be effective in the short term, it is a dangerous reason to drink and is associated with problem drinking.

 (The above information was inspired by: https://theconversation.com/there-are-four-types-of-drinker-which-one-are-you-89377)

Thinking about what motivates people and how you, yourself, will approach alcohol one day is proactive and sets up good choices in the long run. Because one of the points here on the YSS sub-posts is for you to consider who you choose to be, especially BEFORE the choice is in front of you. Think about it now, so you are prepared when the day comes;-).

Post Question:

Knowing yourself as you do at this point, if you were motivated to drink some day, what do you think is the kind of motivation that best describes you?

Answer the post question here

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