What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism? Addiction Treatment

No matter the frequency, if your drinking habits have negatively affected your life, it’s possible you have a problem with alcohol abuse. If you think you might have an alcohol problem, discuss it with a healthcare provider. They can offer advice on how to approach your treatment and assist you with the process of detoxing, withdrawing, and recovering from alcohol use disorder. Everyone’s experience with alcohol is different, but effective treatments are available, whether your condition is mild, moderate, or severe. Alcohol dependence causes people to keep drinking to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. In particular, for patients with more severe mental health comorbidities, it is important that the care team include specialists with the appropriate expertise to design personalized and multimodal treatment plans. Additionally, another difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence is the severity of drinking.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Those with more control or a structured home environment are also potential candidates. Alcoholism, sometimes referred to as alcohol dependence, is a brain disease characterized by excessive alcohol intake. While the above metrics provided by the NIAAA can be used to measure the level of abuse taking place, any amount of excessive alcohol consumption is a problem.

Ask yourself whether you have any of the symptoms listed above and see how many apply to your life. Those with mild to moderate symptoms may receive treatment What is the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in an outpatient setting. You should ask a loved one to stay with you during this process, and you may need to visit a clinician for daily monitoring.

Patient Care Network

Binge drinking a few nights a month can cause significant consequences, such as legal issues and declining health. It goes beyond merely going out a few nights, celebrating with friends, and having a couple of drinks. Alcohol use can turn into a drinking problem, which can turn into severe alcohol dependence and substance abuse. In the late stage of alcoholism, individuals’ bodies have become dependent on alcohol and they require it to function normally. They may experience withdrawal symptoms such as seizures or hallucinations if they try to stop drinking abruptly.

Those who abuse alcohol frequently have a greater risk of increased tolerance and addiction. Similarly, if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you decrease alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether, you might have a drinking problem. The CDC recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink per day for women to avoid the risk of harm and chronic disease. Therefore, individuals regularly consuming drinks in excess of these guidelines may be defined as abusing alcohol. API is a private, physician-owned behavioral health system offering inpatient and outpatient psychiatric and substance use disorder services.

Alcoholism vs. Alcohol Abuse: What’s The Difference?

With time, this means they increase the overall amount they drink in each instance and over a period of time. He got me interested in how and why people resort to alcohol abuse and here are some of the things that I have learned about alcohol abuse and alcoholism. PTSD is characterized primarily by alterations in arousal and recurrent intrusive thoughts that follow a traumatic event. Between 30% and 60% of people seeking treatment for AUD have co-occurring PTSD,28 and the conditions may worsen each other.

distinguish between alcohol abuse and alcoholism

With more than 15,000 treatment centers in the United States alone, there are a variety of options for those living with alcoholism, from alcohol detox to online rehabs and teletherapy. Finding a community of your peers who are also trying to get sober can help provide support during early recovery. Delirium tremens is a symptom of severe alcohol withdrawal that can be potentially fatal.


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