Perhaps it’s obvious that drinking alcohol is more readily accepted by the general public than the use of illicit drugs. If you were to call a friend, for example, you might be okay with saying, “Hey let’s go out for a drink.” But some men and women might have a hard time with calling a friend and saying “Want to get high tonight? In general, people are okay with drinking and not so okay with drug use. And this is mostly true because alcohol use is legal and society as a whole accepts it.
Disadvantage of Society’s Acceptance of Alcohol
The fact that society is more accepting of alcohol use versus illicit drug use has its pros and cons. First of all, because of this, people who are already prone to addiction might be at risk for developing an addiction to alcohol in particular. In other words, the vulnerability to alcohol addiction might be greater in certain groups of people, especially if alcohol use took place frequently in one’s family of origin. So, the disadvantage of society’s acceptance of alcohol can create a greater risk of addiction for many people.
On the other hand, because of this societal acceptance, more people may be more willing to admit an addiction to alcohol versus an addiction to drugs. In fact, one study unintentionally revealed this fact when trying to study the effects of using brief therapy (a form of individual solution focused therapy) on those recovering from addiction. The study revealed that this form of therapy appeared to have a positive influence on those addicted to alcohol but not so much with those addicted to illicit drugs. Leaders of the research speculated that that alcohol use is socially sanctioned and for that reason, individuals might be more prone to admitting that they have a problem and open to acquiring help for it. However, with illicit drug use, there are often more complicated presenting issues that brief therapy might not be able to address in such a short period of time. And the use of illicit drugs might also be associated with other stigma-related issues such as mental illness.
Finding Help with Addiction
However, interestingly, society accepts drinking alcohol under the right circumstances. If a person were frequently drunk or drinking in the morning or coming to work drunk, then others might be less accepting of such behavior. In fact, the limits of what society accepts may even have an influence on the ways that person might hide their drinking. For instance, if a person did in fact develop an addiction to alcohol, he or she might be okay with drinking with friends at the bar, but hide the fact that they are drinking the next morning. Furthermore, this person might also try to hide the fact that they are hung-over at work.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol addiction, it’s best to reach out for help. Addiction can hijack the brain in such a way that keeps a person drinking even if a part of them wants to stop. The compulsory behavior that comes with addiction is precisely why a person may need outside help. Contact a mental health provider for assistance today.