There are multiple factors that can lead to the development of alcoholism including social or cultural influences, family history, genetic factors, and environmental factors. When abusing alcohol, your body is repeatedly exposed to large amounts of toxic substances, increasing the risk of physical health issues. Alcohol abuse also has a damaging effect on relationships with family and friends, leading to isolation and loss of social connections. Finally, certain behavioral factors can increase the risk of alcohol abuse. Examples of this include reckless drinking, taking part in activities such as binge drinking, or trying to self-medicate with alcohol.

  • Research shows a high correlation between alcohol misuse and high-risk sexual behavior, violence, crime, self-injury, and fatal injury from things like motor vehicle accidents.
  • Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention.
  • Group meetings are available in most communities at low or no cost, and at convenient times and locations—including an increasing presence online.
  • Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that leads to negative consequences, such as legal problems, relationship issues, or poor job performance.

Although both refer to problematic drinking behaviors that can impact a person’s day-to-day life, there are certain distinctions to be aware of. Today, our Clearbrook rehab is sharing a comparison of alcohol abuse vs. alcoholism to understand their differences and help you identify their symptoms in others. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a handbook issued by the American Psychiatric Association for medical professionals to use as a guide What is the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for diagnosing mental disorders, such as alcoholism. The most recent version, DSM-5, integrates both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence into a single disorder called alcohol use disorder (AUD) and sub-classifies it into mild, moderate, and severe categories. In this article, we’ll define alcohol abuse and alcoholism, discuss their signs and symptoms, explore potential causes and risk factors, examine their consequences, and review the available treatment options.

What Causes Alcohol Misuse and Addiction

Alcoholism can produce a wide range of physical, psychological and social risks. Physically, long-term drinking can produce other damaging results such as weight gain, poor coordination, impaired cognition, vitamin deficiencies, nerve damage, and even comas and death. The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse are often similar to alcoholism, but they tend to be less severe. Physically, individuals who abuse alcohol may experience some physical issues such as nausea, headaches, or dizziness after drinking too much. They also may not have an increased tolerance to alcohol like someone with alcoholism would.

how does alcohol abuse differ from alcoholism

Alcohol dependence, on the other hand, is a more severe form of alcohol abuse that involves a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. If you’re afraid your drinking problems are spiraling out of control, Alvarado Parkway Institute can help you get your life back on track. Whether you’re struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, our alcohol rehab center in San Diego provides a safe, supportive, and caring environment for your road to recovery. We offer medically supervised detox, individual and group therapy, and aftercare planning to help make sobriety a permanent way of life. While alcohol abuse and alcoholism have some similarities, they differ in their severity, frequency, and impact on a person’s life. Alcohol abuse is less severe than alcoholism, but it can still have negative consequences on a person’s health and well-being.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

While alcohol abuse refers to patterns of excessive drinking leading to negative consequences, alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. The diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse include a pattern of drinking that leads to negative consequences, such as legal problems or relationship issues. The severity of the abuse is determined by the number of negative consequences experienced. There is a fine–and not-so-fine–line between alcohol dependence (or “alcoholism” or “alcohol abuse”) and heavy drinking or excessive alcohol consumption. The signs and symptoms of alcoholism are typically divided into physical, social, and psychological.

  • There is a fine–and not-so-fine–line between alcohol dependence (or “alcoholism” or “alcohol abuse”) and heavy drinking or excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Alcoholism refers to a disease, so there are physical changes that happen in the body due to long-term drinking.
  • If your drinking has gotten out of control, or if you know someone who’s struggling with alcohol abuse, our Wilkes Barre alcohol treatment can help.
  • Various medications have been developed to help individuals with alcohol dependence manage their cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function.
  • The most noticeable sign of alcoholism is a compulsion to drink alcohol in spite of negative consequences.

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two distinct patterns of alcohol consumption. Understanding the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism can help you recognize when you or someone you love may be at risk and take steps to address the issue. Treatment for alcoholism and alcohol abuse is anchored in controlling cravings and withdrawal symptoms. More frequently, complete abstinence from drinking is the preferred treatment, as the temptation to over-consume can be difficult for many. As alcohol abuse and alcoholism differ, so do the right treatment options for people with these conditions.

How does alcohol abuse differ from alcoholism?

Jaundice, swollen glands, tremors, and anxiety are all common signs of alcoholism. As a result, anyone who is struggling with alcoholism will need to seek out professional help in order to recover. Alcoholism refers to a disease that is characterized by a strong craving for alcohol and an inability to control one’s drinking. If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, the Orlando Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to begin the admissions process and start your recovery journey. After completing a detox program, patients transition into an inpatient or outpatient rehab.

Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious problems that can be overcome with the right help. Several factors contribute to the development of alcoholism, including genetics, environment, and mental health. In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. API is a private, physician-owned behavioral health system offering inpatient and outpatient psychiatric and substance use disorder services. We are dedicated to the wellness of individuals, their families, and our community through prevention, intervention, and treatment in a safe and culturally sensitive environment.

It’s important to note that not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is a treatable condition, but it often requires professional treatment to overcome. Some people may drink excessively and show few outward signs of intoxication, while others may become belligerent or display other obvious signs of drunkenness. If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to reach out for help.

how does alcohol abuse differ from alcoholism

When people use this term, they are typically referring to an alcohol use disorder, which is the diagnostic term for alcohol addiction. Alcoholism generally refers to a disease in which a person is unable to stop drinking. “Alcoholism” is a term often used to describe someone with a severe form of alcohol dependence. Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. People with alcoholism or alcohol addiction are unable to function without drinking.

Share this:

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Comment