Beer Addiction: Yes, It’s Real

There are several pernicious myths out there about drinking that work to prevent people from getting the help they need with alcoholism. Though many have been revealed to be thoroughly untrue and largely discredited, one of the biggies that remain is you can’t get addicted to beer. Alternately put as just drinking beer can’t make you an alcoholic.

Not true.

Beer addiction is real and alcoholism can be feed by beer alone.

These are simple yet profound truths that need to be repeated often so people feel start to feel more comfortable talking about their problems with controlling their beer consumption.

It’s already tough enough to struggle with alcoholism, it’s even worse if you feel isolated to the point that you don’t seek assistance or treatment because your addiction isn’t perceived as “real” by friends and family.

Beer Addiction and Alcoholism

The type of alcohol you consume isn’t what defines alcoholism. It bears repeating: the type of alcohol you consume is not what defines alcoholism.

As Mayo Clinic notes, “alcohol use disorder (which includes a level that’s sometimes called alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”

Nothing in that definition, or any definition you’ll find, makes an exception for beer.

Nonetheless, beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage on the planet, being one of the oldest drinks that people created. It’s no wonder its consumption is therefore normalized in the extreme.

Beer addiction presents itself as other any other form of addiction would, and the Mayo Clinic sums that up nicely. Recognizing these symptoms of alcoholism as a larger problem that needs attention is often a problem because of the degree to which society looks at beer as innocuous and innocent.

When we strip it down to brass tacks the same ethyl alcohol (ethanol), the agent which causes intoxication and that’s created during fermentation, is found in all alcoholic beverages, from beer to wine to spirits. Just in different concentrations. So, if our bodies are all simply reacting to same ethyl alcohol then of course beer can, and does, lead to addiction and alcoholism. Same as it could for wine or hard liquors.

It’s the amount of alcohol, not the type that matters.

Can You Be an Alcoholic Drinking Beer?

“It’s just one beer” or “I don’t even drink every day!” or “I can cut back whenever I want”. The excuses we tell ourselves about beer are the same that other addicts tell themselves and the outside world about their own addiction issues.

It’s all denialism.

Drinking too much beer can absolutely lead to being an alcoholic. It’s a cascading effect as drinking beer feeds the cravings and leads to the inability to stop that define alcoholism.

Heavy drinking, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 15 drinks or more per week for men and 8 for women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism adds that heavy alcohol use is considered 4 or more drinks on any day for men and 3 for women.

Prolonged beer-drinking above those levels can easily have you slip into the world of addiction as your body grows accustomed to that level of alcohol in the system and begins to crave more. 

Get Help with Alcohol

Alcoholism, and particularly beer addiction, is not something you need to tackle and overcome on your own. You don’t have to feel uncomfortable or alone in this, reach out to us at Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network and let’s talk about the effect’s beer has had on your life. Our advisors can connect you with a treatment program that fits your needs.

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