Tuesday May 24th 2016

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7

Why do people start drinking alcohol? Top 10 reasons

Why do people drink?

People drink alcohol for many reasons. But why do they start drinking at all? Here we examine the top 10 reasons why people start drinking, and ask that you leave your own reasons or responses below. If you think that you might have a problem with drinking, check out our alcoholism and drinking problem evaluation questions so that you can gauge what is normal.

People start drinking alcohol …

1. For the effect

Many people drink alcohol for the effect that alcohol has on the central nervous system. It is both a depressant and a stimulant, and drinking can result in feelings of euphoria, disorientation or a pleasurable release of tension.

2. Out of curiosity

People may drink simply to experiment with alcohol and judge whether or not drinking is for them.

3. As a reaction to the social environment

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7

We’ve all probably experienced some type of peer pressure in our lives. In fact, almost everyone wants to fit in. Many people try alcohol when they are in a social setting where everyone else is drinking in order to feel accepted and part of the environment.

4. Because they see it modeled by others

Environmental factors, such as the influence of parents or older people, play a role in initial alcohol use. For example, parents who drink more and who view drinking favorably may have children who do the same.

5. As part of normal developmental transitions

Adolescents who are in the process of puberty (sexual maturation) and who experience more independence and freedom may drink alcohol as part of the dramatic physical, emotional and social change of adolescence. In other words, drinking is a part of self-exploration. Likewise, young people in college or university may drink alcohol during this time transition to adulthood in order to explore their own values and beliefs about alcohol.

6. To relieve stress

Some new drinkers may use alcohol as a way to escape or cope with problems. Alcohol may temporarily relieve stress and focus attention elsewhere, but the problems remain well after you stop drinking.

7. As a result of personality characteristics

People who start drinking early often share similar personality characteristics. These characteristics include:

  • aggressiveness
  • anxiousness
  • depressed
  • difficulty avoiding harm or harmful situations
  • dis-inhibition
  • disruptivity
  • hyperactivity
  • rebelliousness
  • thrill seeker
  • withdrawn

8. Because it is culturally normalized

Today alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted through TV, film, radio, ads, and the Internet. This normalization makes alcohol use socially acceptable and normal, especially in countries or places where drinking is a part of life, like Ireland.  Why do the Irish drink so much?  This culture, for example, has drinking ingrained into the masses.

9. Because they expect a good experience

People who expect drinking to be a pleasurable experience are more likely to drink than people who do not. So, the expectation that alcohol will be fun and enjoyable may actually cause a person to start drinking.

10. Because it is accessible

Alcohol is pretty easy to get, even for teens. Family and friends are the primary sources of alcohol for kids who drink, whether knowingly or unwillingly. Local alcohol retailers may also accept fake IDs for underage drinkers. So relatively speaking and in comparison with other illicit activities, alcohol is accessible to most anyone.

Reference sources: NIAAA underage drinking Alcohol Alert
Why children start drinking

Photo credit: Adam Cohn

Leave a Reply

14 Responses to “Why do people start drinking alcohol? Top 10 reasons
3:49 pm October 13th, 2011

This list shows why it is particularly important for alcoholic to achieve spiritual health –even after they make an initial recovery, their inner strength is sure to be tested by temptation.

Indian munda
9:41 pm January 2nd, 2013

11. I miss one reason:
Some people drink to hurt her/himself. Or mostly let the other person (mostly the person she/he is in love with) notice that ‘I’ am in pain and there is only one person to make “me” stop…

8:23 pm May 15th, 2013

Some people drink alcoholic beverages because they enjoy it. No different than a biologist’s fascination with biology. Alcoholic beverages surpass every other drinkable liquid substance on earth in flavors, diversity, types, composition, science, and culture.

2:04 am April 21st, 2014

The main reason people drink is they really are not happy with themselves on the inside

4:01 am December 22nd, 2014

Your all wrong and right at the same time. It gives a person a sense of freedom, to say and do what they want, which is sociably unacceptable. People need to let loose, but I also get it ends badly more times then not. It’s a reality buffer. What we can do and not “allowed” to do.

I understand all the arguments. Drinking for me..well..it opens the doorways in my mind. I see things clearly for what I perceive them to be, without the unwritten laws of society. I see through the transparency. My mind is open to all sorts of thoughts..both what is considered good and evil, which is and has always been based on what is societies flavor of the month is.

Addiction is the result of a flawed society. Any and all addiction. None of us are where we want to be, as a direct result of those “chosen” to lead us decide what is best. Society wants to blame addicts for the less then happy living conditions of the world, when it’s actually the complete opposite. Drinking, drugs, gambling are the result of taking the hazardous short cut for a better life, all the while society dictates what the standard is.

9:35 am December 31st, 2014

The real reason why people drink alcohol is because their egos are out of control, or should I say, in control. The egos mission is to distroy you, & it uses alcohol, drugs, all mind altering substances & religion to achieve this. For a better understanding read & study “DISSOLVING the EGO, REALIZING the SELF” by Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. Your life will never be the same. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

8:08 pm April 24th, 2015

Bradley is correct. It is hard to see reality without some sort of political or social filter. Alcohol removes this filter so we can finally be free. What good is free speech, when you still get in trouble depending on what you say? What good is finding love when the lucky ones in this shitty economy seem to have no issues? What good is religion when even the most dedicated can lose everything?

5:34 pm May 14th, 2015

I say “DON’T USE ALCOHOL 4 EVER” If there is any reason.

4:31 am November 11th, 2015

I’m 11 and I drink all the time

12:37 pm November 12th, 2015

Hi Bhret. Alcohol and drinking can be a way to try to deal with some tough life problems when you are young. It’s kind of like medication. Are you in a difficult family or personal situation? If we learn a little more about what’s going on, we can try to refer you to someone who can help. Even at 11, you are not alone!!!

7:44 pm November 12th, 2015

to be cool and inapropreat

12:47 pm November 13th, 2015

Hi Souna. Some of the reasons why people start drinking are exactly those that you numbered. But, there are also a lot of other reasons…it’s different for everyone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

5:57 pm January 26th, 2016

do you have any ideas why people start to drnk

8:14 pm April 6th, 2016

yes i do people would start to drink alcohol because they want to be cool

Leave a Reply

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7