What is Grey Area Drinking?

Nearly 29.5 million people in the U.S. ages 12 and up struggled with an alcohol use disorder in 2021. Although millions of people across the U.S. struggle with alcohol addiction, there are still millions of Americans that drink alcohol on a regular basis. However, there’s no question that some people who drink alcohol occasionally, such as at weddings or birthdays, have different drinking habits than people who drink almost every day.

If someone drinks almost every day, this doesn’t mean they automatically have a drinking problem. Yet, people who drink daily are by no means considered occasional drinkers either. People who drink frequently are known as “grey area drinkers.” Although grey area drinking doesn’t mean someone is struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), this does potentially pose a risk that the individual’s drinking habits can escalate and lead to becoming an alcoholic.

If you are struggling with a drinking problem, or any addiction, help is available. At Rise in Malibu, we are a Malibu luxury drug rehab that provides comprehensive care to treat the whole person, not just their disease. Contact us today to learn more about how you can start your recovery journey.

What Does Being A Grey Area Drinker Mean?

A grey area drinker is someone who isn’t an alcoholic but isn’t someone who drinks on occasion. In other words, a grey area drinker drinks moderately. For instance, a grey area drinker could be someone who drinks daily in social settings or drinks nearly every day while at home alone. Although a grey area drinker isn’t necessarily dependent on drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms, a grey area drinker also doesn’t just drink from time to time.

However, just because a grey area drinker is not technically an alcoholic, doesn’t mean they could become an alcoholic in the future. This is because a grey area drinker already drinks on quite a consistent basis which may become a drinking problem later on in their life. 

What’s the Difference Between Grey Area Drinkers vs Alcoholics?

It’s important to understand that grey area drinkers and alcoholics are two different types of people. Although grey area drinkers drink on a rather regular basis, this does not mean from a clinical sense that they are addicted to alcohol and must consume alcohol to prevent themselves from experiencing any withdrawal symptoms. However, just because grey area drinkers are not yet dependent on alcohol doesn’t mean they cannot be in the future.

Signs of Grey Area Drinking

As mentioned above, grey area drinking does not mean someone is an alcoholic. Yet, grey area drinkers can eventually develop a drinking problem and become an alcoholic in the future.

Below are common signs of grey area drinking to look out for:

  1. You Worry About Your Drinking: If you secretly worry that you’re developing a drinking problem, this may be a sign you’re a grey area drinker. Although not an alcoholic, if you worry about how others perceive your drinking habits and are concerned about yourself, this is a common sign.
  2. You Drink On and Off: Other signs of grey area drinking are when you quit drinking and make plans to reset and live a healthier life; however, you don’t stay sober for long and eventually fall back into your old drinking habits.
  3. You Use Alcohol As A “Tool”: If you find that you have to almost rely on alcohol as a means to cope and relax in more stressful situations, such as social events, this may be another sign you’re a grey area drinker.
  4. You Experience Adverse Effects: If you experience regret about your drinking, have binge drinking sessions, hangovers, etc. frequently, these are more signs of grey area drinking.

Help Is Available: Get Started Today 

Although grey area drinking and being an alcoholic are two different terms, it’s important to understand that drinking can escalate and cause someone to become dependent and addicted to alcohol. 

If you suspect you have a drinking problem, help is available. At Rise in Malibu, we offer a range of drug and alcohol treatment services. Using a holistic approach, we provide essential care and support to help patients maintain a long-term life of sobriety and take back their life.

Struggling with addiction? Contact us today to learn more about how you can break free from addiction for good.

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