Partying or Problem?

female teenager taking a selfie at a party

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Whether you’re in a college setting or not, sometimes you may find yourself asking the following question: Do I have a problem with alcohol? Young men are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol than young women. This experimenting can involve the amount you drink or use and the types of drugs you use. You might think, “What’s the harm in trying something once?” For some people, experimenting can, over time, become a full-blown addiction.

Are You Really Just Having Fun?

Spending the night out with friends can be great for fun and connection. However, there comes the point where partying becomes problematic. Even spending every weekend at the bar or the club can bring on bad habits and dangerous addictions. It’s common for people to live it up on the weekend as a way to destress from work, but many spend half of the week trying to bounce back from their weekend adventures. Additionally, weekend partying can escalate into worse habits. The weekend stops starting on Friday night. Drinking on Thursday couldn’t hurt, right? After a while, a seemingly harmless weekend tradition becomes a full-blown addiction. What began as a way to decompress becomes a problematic coping mechanism.

College Party Culture

Binge drinking and trying new things are common practices on college campuses and young adult spaces. When you enter college and begin life on your own, you might feel pulled to try things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do under your parent’s supervision. It can be exhilarating enjoying this freedom, but what many don’t realize is that the habits formed as a college student or a young adult can follow you through the rest of your life. College partying only becomes alcoholism over time.

Many don’t realize they’ve developed a problem until long after college. Even if you aren’t in school, this type of behavior is still common among young adults. A person who joined trade school right outside of high school might still hit up the bar with their closest friends every night after work and drink heavily on the weekends. This “fun” might not affect them negatively yet, but these habits formed can still affect them in the future.

When to Stop Partying

It might not be apparent right away that you’ve developed a problem. A weekend of partying might feel harmless at first. Over time, however, it can develop into a serious problem. According to the DSM-5, substance use has become a problem if during a 12 month period:

  • Substances are often taken more than or for a more extended period than intended.
  • You wish to control substance use but have been unsuccessful.
  • A lot of time has been spent using or recovering from substances.
  • You crave or have a strong desire to use substances.
  • Your substance use has interfered with work or school.
  • You still use substances even if they have caused interpersonal problems.
  • You’ve given up on hobbies because of substance use.
  • You’ve used substances in dangerous situations like driving.
  • You continue to use substances despite any adverse physical or psychological effects.
  • You’ve built a tolerance for substances and need to increase the amount to get the desired effect.
  • You experience symptoms of withdrawal if you don’t continue using those substances.

There Are Better Alternatives

Partying in itself isn’t the issue. The problem is the substance use. It’s still possible to celebrate without going overboard. One important thing to consider is that you don’t need to party for everything. Not every event requires an intense celebration where you find yourself needing to spend the next day recovering. Even holidays don’t require an all-night rager. It’s possible to celebrate with your friends responsibly, or without drinks at all.

If you’re worried that you might have developed a problem, then it’s time to find alternatives to partying on the weekend. Take this time off from work to relax and recharge before going back to work again. Use this free time to develop a new skill or spend time with your family or friends outside of a bar environment. Read a new book or watch a new show on your time off. Try taking a new class. While it might feel cathartic to party after work, it doesn’t change the fact that on Monday, you’ll still need to come back to work or school again. Having a meaningful weekend where you take care of your body and give yourself time to decompress in a healthy way won’t make Mondays feel so awful.

Plenty of people associate partying with college. You might feel that in order to be cool, you need to join in on the fun. Even if you aren’t in college, it’s still common for young adults to partake in partying despite the negative effects it might have. There comes the point where partying does become a problem, and a person who might think they are participating in harmless fun is only setting themselves up for a full-blown addiction.

The best option is to celebrate in moderation and understand that celebration doesn’t always require a drink, two or five. If you are worried that you or your friend might have a problem, then it might be time to learn how you or your loved one can get the help they need before it’s too late. If you would like to learn more about how to spot a problem before it becomes worse, call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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