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Alcohol Abuse Vs. Alcoholism

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse refers to harmful drinking patterns, but they are not the same. Realizing the differences between alcoholism and alcohol abuse can help you get a proper alcohol intervention plan.

Misusing alcohol is a severe problem, and frequently, it’s hard to know when your casual drinking has turned into an addiction to alcohol. When it comes to alcohol addiction, there are numerous terms you’ll hear, including problem drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism. 

Although alcohol abuse and alcoholism are frequently used interchangeably, the reality is that alcohol abuse and alcoholism have their own set of characteristics. While both alcohol abuse and alcoholism have adverse effects on your life, realizing the differences between the two will help you grasp the severity of your alcohol addiction and get set on the course of an alcohol addiction treatment plan.

What is Alcoholism? 

Alcoholism generally refers to alcohol dependence and requires professional alcohol intervention at an alcohol addiction treatment center. Not everyone who abuses alcohol becomes dependent on alcohol, and alcohol dependence is frequently labeled as alcoholism and is part of the alcoholism definition. Alcoholism is a physical reliance on alcohol. People dependent on consuming alcohol typically experience prevalent withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, insomnia, irritability, and strong urges to drink. 

Alcoholism Problems

In addition to physical alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction symptoms and critical signs of alcoholism can include an inability to control one’s alcohol consumption, craving alcohol, and continuing to drink alcohol despite adverse effects on your life.

Is Alcoholism a Disease

Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by alcohol consumption that interferes with your physical and mental health. The most significant difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that alcohol addiction is a chronic mental and physical disease that affects all areas of your life. Both alcohol-related issues can be effectively treated using a combination of therapies and alcohol addiction intervention at an alcohol addiction treatment center, Daylight Recovery Center.

What Are The Signs of Alcoholism?

An alcohol addiction fact that we cannot overlook is that genetic and environmental factors influence alcoholism, and because it’s chronic, alcoholism lasts a lifetime and requires ongoing effort to obtain and maintain sobriety. 

The Key Signs of Alcoholism include:

  • Intense alcohol cravings
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite the consequences it is causing
  • The inability to limit drinking

What Are Alcoholism Symptoms?

A person suffering from alcoholism will continue to drink despite serious health, legal, or family issues. People with alcoholism have a chemical dependency that prevents them from changing independently. Unlike alcohol abuse, willpower alone isn’t enough to help them overcome their alcohol addiction. Some of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are why so many alcohol-dependent people end up homeless, separated from family, unemployed, and eventually die from addiction. 

Negative Effects of Alcoholism

Over time, people enduring alcoholism build up a tolerance for alcohol, meaning they need to consume more to get the same feeling they used to get with a smaller amount. And when a person with drinking problems stops consuming alcohol, they begin to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, cravings, headaches, irritability, nausea, and shakiness. Unfortunately, many times, a person will continue consuming alcohol to avoid withdrawal symptoms. We help keep you safe and comfortable during your alcohol intervention while working with you through the withdrawal symptoms to help you discover a better life.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Even though alcohol abuse doesn’t permanently disrupt a person’s life in the manner or severity that alcoholism does, it is still often a noticeable drinking issue and often labeled by family and friends as a drinking problem. However, unlike someone enduring alcoholism, a person with an alcohol abuse problem can learn from negative consequences and change their behavior. 

Alcohol abuse refers to acute situations of abusing alcohol. The frequency of alcohol abuse, along with the amount of alcohol consumed, varies for each individual. Alcohol abuse can cause harm to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing – the entire body, mind, and spirit. Also, it’s not uncommon to find that the long-term effects of alcohol abuse include that it can turn to alcoholism with continued use and without discipline.

Listed below are some symptoms of alcohol abuse. These are some of the common ways people consume and abuse alcohol and the effects of alcohol abuse. 

  • Failure to fulfill primary responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Consuming alcohol and running into legal issues
  • Consuming alcohol to cope with stress or emotional pain
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though it interferes with your life – work, friends, family
  • Participating in or encouraging consuming alcohol underage
  • Consuming alcohol during a pregnancy
  • Driving while drunk, and risking your health, safety, and life as well as that of others
  • Consuming alcohol combined with prescription medication or illicit drugs
  • Drinking more than anticipated regularly

People abusing alcohol are not likely to feel as if they are so reliant on consuming alcohol as someone with alcoholism. 

How Do You Get A Diagnosis Of Alcohol Abuse Or Alcoholism?

The clinical diagnosis to describe problem drinking is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Before AUD, there were two different disorders; alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. 

AUDs definition

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are diagnosed as alcohol use disorder (AUD) and then even further classified as 

  • Mild – two or three symptoms
  • Moderate – four or five symptoms
  • Severe – six or more symptoms

To get a clinical diagnosis, you must exhibit at least two of the symptoms of AUD, listed below.

When assessed for alcohol abuse or alcoholism, you will be asked if you have experienced any of the following within the last year: 

  • Been unable to reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Ended up consuming more alcohol than anticipated or drank for longer than planned
  • Felt overwhelmed by desires to have another drink, 
  • Struggled to concentrate
  • Spent a significant amount of time-consuming alcohol and then recovering from the side effects of drinking alcohol
  • Discovered that your alcohol consumption (or being sick from drinking alcohol) has led to difficulties at work, school, or home
  • Experiencing lack of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Continued to consume alcohol despite it creating problems with family, friends, and loved ones
  • Having issues with physical or mental health because of the amount of alcohol consumed or experiencing memory blackouts
  • Realized you have to consume more alcohol than you used to share the same feeling
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol have worn off (e.g., shakiness, trouble sleeping, sweating, nausea, racing heart, or seizure)

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Without alcohol intervention, people who abuse alcohol are at a much greater risk of developing a more severe drinking problem, which would result in a higher tolerance level, addiction, and alcohol dependence.

The type of alcohol addiction treatment required for alcohol abuse may differ from the treatment required for alcoholism due to how the disorders can vary. People who have alcoholism will most likely need to have detox as an element of their alcohol addiction treatment plan. 

Struggling with any drinking problem can adversely affect numerous areas of your life, from health problems to damaged relationships.

Addiction Help Is Available

We offer addiction help with personalized alcohol addiction treatment based on your situation and needs. In addition, our facility provides a safe and comfortable atmosphere to begin your alcohol intervention journey to recover and heal to build a healthy and sober life.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are severe addictions and shouldn’t be ignored. If you are struggling with either, the best thing you can do is get the help you need. Get addiction Help now with an individualized alcohol addiction treatment plan. We’re here to help you with alcohol intervention through each aspect of recovery, prevent relapse, and enjoy sobriety.  

If you’re ready for alcohol intervention on the road to recovery, call our 24/7 alcohol addiction hotline now 888-708-2602.

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