Alcohol, Alcoholism, and Alcohol Abuse


Alcoholism is made light of in society today through television shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy. However, alcoholism and alcohol abuse are very serious things to deal with. Alcoholism can impact every aspect of the users life from work, social relationships, personal relationships, and parenting. Although there is no known cure for the disease of alcoholism, there are many rehab and treatment methods that can be utilized to curb the cravings.

What is the Difference Between Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Although the two terms seem synonymous with each other, they are in fact two separate things. Alcoholism is based on a dependency and tolerance, whereas alcohol abuse is based on a pattern of drinking that affects certain situations in a twelve month period. We will look more closely at these terms as stated in

Alcoholism is defined by four major traits. The first of these being a continual need to drink, or craving. People with alcoholism also develop a tolerance to the effects of alcohol, thus causing them to need to drink greater quantities in order to feel the effects. They can also experience withdrawal symptoms when quitting after an extended period of drinking along with a loss of control or the inability to limit their drinking during certain occasions or over time.

Alcohol abuse is a little different due to the fact that there is no dependency. It is not necessary to the users daily living. Things such as alcohol related legal issues, drinking at times that could cause physical injury to the user or others around them, drinking regardless of the relationship issues caused by said drinking, and drinking that interferes with other pursuits such as work or school.

Where to go for Help

There are many places to turn when seeking help for alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Many hospitals have inpatient treatment facilities, specially equipped to deal with the needs of a person dealing with alcoholism. There are also alcoholism treatment rehab facilities available as well as many support groups, most notably AA or Alcoholics Anonymous.

When you are an outsider dealing with someone who is an alcoholic, you may not realize that “just not drinking” is not necessarily an option for someone with alcoholism. It is a true dependency, and things such as willpower alone may not be what it takes to kick the addiction. If you know of someone or are related to someone who is going through an alcohol treatment program, be there as moral support. Just do not become an enabler with the false view of “if they only drink around me, then I can control their drinking.” Please be mindful of the fact that relapses do happen. In the case of a relapse, encourage your loved one to get back on the wagon and support them through the process.

In the end, not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic. As long as you can recognize the signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse, you may be able to save yourself from years of pain or encourage someone you love to seek treatment. Remember, alcoholism is a disease, not a choice.

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