Why do people drink alcohol?

People drink alcohol for two reasons: taste or effect. But alcoholic people drink alcohol for different reasons. We explore the question, “Why do people drink alcohol?” here. Learn more about the effects drinking alcohol and the characteristics of alcoholic drinking here.

minute read

People drink alcohol for taste

Alcohol is a natural product that is created when fruits, vegetables or grain are left to ferment. When these foods go through the process of fermentation, yeast or bacteria are added to change the sugars into alcohol. Some people drink alcohol because they enjoy the taste and the result of fermentation, and as an accompaniment to meals.

People drink alcohol for effect

More commonly, people drink alcohol to experience the effects it produces. When you drink, alcohol is absorbed by the bloodstream and affects the brain and spinal cord. Because alcohol is a depressant, the functions of the central nervous system slow down. Furthermore, alcohol can block messages from the body to the brain. Effects of drinking alcohol include:

  • altered perception
  • altered emotions
  • altered movement
  • altered vision
  • altered hearing
  • intoxication

Why do alcoholics drink alcohol?

Some people who start off drinking and enjoy the effects of alcohol can become addicted to it. We call these people alcoholics. Alcoholics become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol and need to drink in order to feel “normal”. Alcoholism is identified by the following four characteristics:

  1. A mental obsession with drinking alcohol.
  2. A physical craving for drinking alcohol, activated when drinking begins.
  3. A loss of control when drinking alcohol.
  4. Continued drinking, despite negative consequences.


If you are drinking to numb emotional pain (fear or anger) or if you cannot stop drinking, alcohol may be a problem in your life. But what should you do if someone you love has a drinking problem? Here are some alcohol intervention strategies. Or post your comment below. We’ll be happy to help you.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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