Off to the pub after work tonight, are you?
Having seven pints and dropping kebab meat over yourself on the walk home, are you?
Tripping over a street sign after a bottle of wine to yourself, is it?
Going home with a colleague after that extra round of tequila shots, you say?
OK, we know what’s happening, but we don’t know why. Or at least we didn’t before we realised scientists have identified the four distinct types of drinker – yes, that means you can figure out which one you are.
From a quick glance, it feels like pretty much all bases are covered, and it should provide you with something to ponder when you’re getting that first round in.
The first is Social Drinking – a pretty self-explanatory phenomenon and one which might have been difficult to shake if you were doing Dry January.
The second, tangentially related to this, is Drinking to Conform. There’s the same social aspect at play here, namely drinking to feel part of a group or to feel generally involved, but the amount consumed might differ.
For example, those who drink to conform might more regularly nurse one or two drinks throughout an evening rather than going pint-for-pint with their peers – what matters is that they’re part of the drinking group.
The other two types of drinker are on the opposite end of the scale, however, and are (to a point) opposite sides of the same coin.
First is Drinking for Enhancement, relating to those who – in broader terms – drink to get drunk.
This differs from the fourth type, Drinking to Cope, by virtue of attempting to enhance positive emotions, while the latter is focused on dampening negatives.
The difference between these two is something that has been addressed in studies of binge drinking and alcohol abuse, though there’s no hard-and-fast path that applies to everyone.
So, have you figured out which of the four you are?