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photo of a group of young adults in a bar drinking heavily

Since the use of alcohol as a food and intoxicating source has been around for 1,000s of years, its use heavily affects society and culture. Every culture has its own viewpoint regarding alcohol abuse and society. These differences which can be seen in countries around the world result in various cultures and populations using alcohol in different ways.

Part of this is likely to be genetically linked. But, just as important, one’s culture heavily influences the number of people in the culture that could go on to develop an alcohol abuse problem or even alcoholism. In the book ‘Diseasing of America” Peele, S. tells that, “Sociocultural variants are at least as important and psychological and psychological variants when we are trying to understand that interrelation of alcohol and human behavior.”

Cultural variants in the use of alcohol, abuse of alcohol, and alcoholism are even found in subsets of larger cultures. Even in the U.S., depending on which state, city, community, or household within one is raised and resides, can easily decide their views on alcohol, and how use is appropriately and safely.

The DSM-V, published by the American Psychiatric Association provides clear and specific criteria that are used in the aid of diagnosis alcohol abuse and dependence. Only part of the criteria includes the number of drinks that are routinely consumed. Most of the criteria focus on withdrawal, cravings, and other behaviors, such as the consequences suffered. Therefore, simply knowing the number of drinks consumed on average by an individual is not enough to diagnose alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

When one lives in a culture where alcohol is tied to specific religious and social customs, those with problems with alcohol abuse tend be to lesser. In other cultures, when there are less or no prescribed norms on how and when alcohol should be consumed, there are more who go on to develop problem drinking, with later consequences.

Because it is known that in most cultures, the drinking of alcohol is a strictly social act, many who live in these cultures only drink with others, and during appropriate events. The cultural integrity helps in preventing long-term consequences from the regular, and inappropriate use of alcohol.

How a culture takes part in aggression and other dangerous or criminal behaviors while intoxicated is greatly dependent upon how their culture or sub-culture drives expected behavior while in a drunken stated. Per Collins, G., in the paper ‘Alcohol and disinhibition: nature and Meaning of the Link’, it was said that, “alcohol cannot be viewed as the cause of specific drunken behaviors…Alcohol as a drug can be viewed as an enable or facilitator of certain culturally given inebriate states, but it cannot be seen as producing a specific response pattern among all human beings who ingest it.”

Therefore, and although alcohol is routinely used by millions of people, changing cultural beliefs on where and when the culture determines it is appropriate to drink could help outcomes and prevent the development of long-term alcoholism and the need for alcohol detox, alcohol rehab, or incarceration.

Because there are no consistent views on alcohol use in the USA, here you will find a wide array of different views, use, and behaviors associated with alcohol. It tends to be that when alcohol is introduced early into the home, and it is used during specific events, the rates of alcoholism tend to be lower. But, when alcohol is introduced at a later age and as a substance that is not permitted, or is permitted to extremes, the rate of alcoholism goes up.

If you or a loved one feels like there are consistent and dangerous behaviors, with resultant consequences, or that the use of alcohol has crossed the line into heavy drinking, alcohol abuse, or alcohol dependence, the Addiction Specialists at BWR can help you on the road to recovery. It is especially difficult to admit these problems in those who have been raised in a community that very negatively views alcohol, as the denial, embarrassment, and shame can be overwhelming. It is important to attend an alcohol detox and alcohol rehab that is understanding, non-judgemental, and has the only goal of helping alcoholics regain their lives. You can reach BWR by calling 800-683-4457, or by completing our online contact form.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

Your decision to regain your life helps and heals your entire family. Do it for them. Do it for you.


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