This question has occupied medical people as well as laymen for centuries. Specific programs have been developed to answer this question and help individuals deal with their private reasons for drinking alcohol. Of course, some drinking is simply an act of social interaction, similar to having a meal with someone. In these situations, drinking is no more than a normal activity that helps establish bonds and seal friendships.

Beyond this, the question involves the alcohol that is in the drinks. If this is simply a social act, why wouldn’t a non-alcoholic drink serve the same purpose? This is where the physical effects of alcohol enter the picture. We might say that we drink an alcoholic beverage just because it is what everyone else is doing. We want to be part of the group. But why did the group choose alcohol as the drink to start with?

Some argue that they like the taste of beer or a certain mixed drink. This is certainly a legitimate reason for being involved in the social act of drinking as well as a reason for having a drink when alone at home. There are hundreds of different types of “drinks” both in the bottle and as mixed drinks. Alcoholic drinks have been invented and created for centuries to suit the taste of a few individuals or a large groups.

But there is another reason people drink alcohol. The physical effect of alcohol is generally to make the person feel more relaxed. In the medical field, the type of alcohol that is in beer, liquor and wine is known as a depressant for the human body. Taking this type of alcohol in certain amounts does allow someone to relax and may even allow them to “open up” more socially.

The next reason is really a different level of the “relaxation” mentioned above. People drink alcohol in amounts that get them to the relaxed stage then go beyond that to the “buzz” or inebriated levels.
With these four basic reasons identified, it might be interested to know what percentage of the population considers each of these as the major reason for drinking alcohol. The vast majority of people answer a survey question about reasons for drinking by saying they use alcohol for social reasons. This might include the simple act of having one drink to fit in or it might go a bit beyond that to feeling more at ease with a group of people.

About half of those who consider why they drink alcohol say they like the taste, whether it is beer, wine or liquor. They have a favorite drink that tastes good and fits in with the social element of drinking. Not too many people admit to drinking for the primary reason of getting drunk or intoxicated. Few people admit that they are drinking to forget someone or something. The reasons people drink vary quite a bit, but the information gathered is only as accurate as the answers people give.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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