Drinking alcohol is one of the most common ways people spend time especially in a social setting. Yet, drinking alcohol is not a healthy way to spend any time.

In fact, researchers state that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume. Knowing these risks, people still seek out alcohol on a consistent basis or have a few drinks here and there. Why do they do so? There are many reasons for this. Read on to learn more.

1. Stress Relief

Perhaps one of the most common reasons why people drink is to get some stress relief.

After a long, hard day at work, having a drink may seem like a good way to relax. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can help to calm nerves and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.

This is a common reason why people drink casually. Most often, it is just one or two drinks, but it can progressively become more.

2. Peer Pressure and Social Acceptance

Another common reason why people drink is because a lot of people do it.

Alcohol is legal the world over, which makes it customary in social settings. Drinking is the normal and socially accepted thing to do when out with friends and colleagues. If a group of people is going to the bar for a drink after work, not going can make someone seem “socially awkward” or anti-social.

Often, there is an element of peer pressure here. If everyone else is doing it, why wouldn’t you have a drink?

3. Camaraderie

In some ways, sharing alcohol with others is a show of camaraderie. This is common especially related to sports. When a group of people get together to watch a game or go to a local stadium, drinking is usually a commonplace. These types of social situations create instances in which people are all alcohol while interacting with each other.

This is a common way of celebrating and a component of culture rather than a peer-pressured situation. Because it is socially acceptable it becomes almost expected.

4. To Loosen Up

Alcohol reduces inhibitions. In some situations, that means individuals will drink alcohol as a way of unwinding and loosening up.

They may want to have a drink before a stressful event. Alcohol can help people loosen up for many reasons. It is often used in situations where one needs to meet new people, engage in reckless behavior, or interact one-on-one with others.

People who binge drink may do so specifically to loosen up quickly in order to avoid hesitation or embarrassment.

5. Addiction

The most difficult reason to understand why people drink alcohol is because they have a physical addiction to it.

A person who is addicted to alcohol understands the risks of using alcohol and still engages in it. This is because they have built up a dependence on the substance.

Dependence occurs when they crave alcohol, suffer withdrawal symptoms when they do not use it, and have built up a tolerance for it. In these cases, a person needs to drink more and more alcohol to get the same effect or to just feel normal. In some cases, they drink because their body and brain demand it. Often, they do not have control over their drinking in the event of alcohol dependence.

6. To Cover Up Past Trauma

Some people use alcohol as a way to hide their feelings and thoughts about past traumatic situations they have experienced.

For example, a person may have suffered or still suffers with mental, physical or sexual abuse. Because alcohol can work as a type of depressant, it can help to cloud these memories making it difficult to think about them. As a result, some people spend a great deal of their time drinking so they do not have to feel or think about those untreated conditions.

7. To Mask or Improve Effects of Drugs

Polysubstance abuse occurs when a person uses two types of drugs at the same time. Alcohol is a common option. It is often used with drugs such as cocaine.

When used like this, the alcohol works as a natural depressant. Cocaine is a stimulant. It is also known to cause high amounts of anxiety and fear when taken. By consuming alcohol with the cocaine, it is possible to reduce some of the undesirable anxiety that cocaine can cause. However, this is extremely dangerous, and can cause many complications.

8. To Rebel

Sometimes people use alcohol to get back at others. This is common amongst teenagers.

For example, teens may understand that drinking alcohol is bad for their health and can cause addiction. Yet, they want to rebel against their parents. They drink alcohol as a way of doing so.

It can be a common act of rebellion in these situations, but it is still very dangerous. When a person uses alcohol like this— especially when binge drinking—they can suffer from alcohol poisoning, which is an emergency situation.

9. It’s Available

One main reason people use alcohol is because it is readily available to them almost everywhere.

Alcohol is one of the easiest drugs to access to because it’s a legal substance sold throughout the majority of the world. As a result, many people turn to alcohol as a way to take the edge off instead of using other drugs.

Often alcohol is consumed in homes on a regular basis. That makes it very easy to get through.

10. It Seems Normal and Okay to Drink

As previously noted, alcohol is considered socially acceptable. People have a few glasses and even a few shots without worrying about the consequences.

Because it is legal and affordable, it is often present at most social gatherings. Unlike other drugs, it is not illegal to purchase.

Parents enjoy it with their adult children. Some even encourage their younger children to drink a little as a way of celebration. Also, some people do not form an addiction, which makes it harder for those who are at risk to recognize that their drinking may be problematic.

11. They Like the Taste of It

Today, there are more types of alcoholic beverages than ever before. Flavors are vast enough that anyone can find some form of alcoholic beverage suitable for their taste.

It is even sold in frozen forms, which means it can be seen as a refreshing way to cool down.

As a result, many people drink because they enjoy the taste of alcohol, i.e., whiskey, beer, wine.

Getting Help

There are many reasons why people drink alcohol—and there seems to be a reason for everyone—but this doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye on problematic drinking. Whether you feel like you’re struggling with alcohol abuse, or have recognized it in a loved one, it is important to seek treatment before the problem gets worse—and it will.

Get help by calling a treatment center near you to learn about your options to end alcohol addiction. If you aren’t sure where to call, search through our directory for a quality treatment center near you.


  1. The Relationship Between Reasons for Drinking Alcohol and Alcohol Consumption
  2. Medline- Alcohol
  3. Drug Topics – Alcohol
  4. Alcohol FAQs

We would love your feedback.

Was this article helpful?

Treatment Questions? Call 24/7.

(855) 265-2123