What Is The Difference Between Alcoholism And Alcohol Abuse?

If you are starting to suspect that you may have a problem with alcohol, that might be enough for you to start seeking the help you need to overcome it. But it can also be very useful to have as full an understanding as possible of the situation, so that you have the best chance of success in overcoming the problem.

 For that, it can be helpful to appreciate the specifics of the situation, such as whether it is alcoholism or alcohol abuse. Let’s take a look at what these are and how they differ right now to help you out.

Alcohol Abuse

First up, let’s look into alcohol abuse and what it might be. Generally, this is defined as being a misuse of alcohol to such a degree that it interferes in some profound ways with a person’s life. That might mean that the individual struggles to maintain their responsibilities at school, at work, or at home, or a combination. 

It might be that they are engaging in risky behavior – drinking while driving, or unprotected sex with strangers, for instance. Or maybe they are getting into repeated legal problems after drinking, or seeing a deterioration in their relationships.

All of this is a sign that alcohol is becoming a problem, and that it is being abused in some manner or other. And the nature of this situation is that it can happen quite slowly and gradually get worse over a long period of time, making it hard to detect. There might be a lot of binge drinking and heavy drinking, and ultimately alcohol abuse may lead to alcohol addiction, though the two are not the same.

Alcoholism

So what is alcoholism, and how does it differ from the alcohol abuse outlined above? As we have said, alcohol abuse may lead to alcoholism, which is another situation entirely. Here, there is a genuine medical dependence on the substance of alcohol, a chronic and lifelong disease where the body needs alcohol in order to function normally. 

Any reduction in the amount of alcohol in the system will cause withdrawal effects. An individual in this situation will drink every day and struggle to minimize their drinking.

You might be suffering with alcoholism if you notice the following:

  • You crave alcohol daily
  • You find it hard or impossible to limit your drinking
  • You have been through failed attempts to stop or curtail drinking
  • Your tolerance is increasing – you need more alcohol to have the same effects
  • You are suffering with withdrawal when not drinking
  • You continue to use it despite having many problems arise from it

If you have any of those signs, you may be addicted to alcohol, and it might be time to seek help. The important thing to remember is that not all people who abuse alcohol are alcoholics, but all alcoholics need alcohol in order to function daily. If you think you might need help with alcohol, get in touch with the recovery center at your earliest convenience today.