Can You Get Addicted to Beer?

There are plenty of myths about alcohol and alcoholism, and many of them have been thoroughly debunked. However, the idea that “beer addiction” is somehow not alcoholism, or that you can’t be an alcoholic if you only drink beer, seems to endure. Beer addiction, if you’d like to call it that, is as real as any other addiction. Diagnosing alcoholism has very little to do with what you choose to drink. The questions you need to ask yourself, if you’re trying to determine whether your beer drinking is actually beer addiction, are:

  • Do you drink more than you planned to drink? Whether it’s beer or whiskey, if you begin drinking with a plan (for example, I’ll just have one beer and then go home) and then “something happens” and it’s five drinks more than that, this is a sign of addiction.
  • Do other people express concern about your drinking, or your behavior when you’re drinking? Does that irritate you? These are also warning signs of problem drinking.
  • Have you noticed that one beer used to be enough, but now it takes three to get you where you want to be? Building up a tolerance (needing more to get the desired effect) is a sign of addiction.
  • Does your personality change when you drink?
  • Have you tried to quit? Why? If you have struggled to either quit or cut back on your drinking, and found yourself unable to, that’s an indication of a problem.
  • Do you find yourself unwilling to go places, attend social events, or even go to restaurants for a meal if alcohol isn’t served? Is more and more of your life revolving around where you can get a beer, and when it’s time to drink?
  • Do you feel like you need to control your drinking, but just can’t quite make that happen? Loss of control over alcohol (whether it’s beer or tequila or anything else) is a key component of alcoholism.

Beer contains alcohol, pure and simple, just like wine and hard liquor. While the percentage of alcohol by volume is less for beer than other alcoholic beverages, it is alcohol. Beer addiction is alcoholism. It is as real, and potentially devastating, as an addiction to any other alcoholic beverage, and something for which you should seek professional alcohol addiction treatment. Telling yourself “it’s just beer” is part of the denial process.

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