Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy on November 16, 2023
Alcohol abuse is the consumption of alcohol to levels that inflict damage on your health, relationships, and finances. Alcohol addiction is a physiological dependence on alcohol, to the point that you experience significant distress when you don’t have it in your system. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction almost always involves alcohol abuse.
We’ll go deeper into these distinctions, and we’ll cover what you can do if you suffer from alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse.
Excessive alcohol consumption can ruin your health, work, and relationships. Whether you’re addicted to it or you’re abusing it regularly, the result is the same: heavy drinking can wreck every aspect of your life.
Do you think it’s time for a change? Our alcohol rehab center is at your disposal. We’re here to help you break the cycle of alcohol addiction through comprehensive treatment and support.
Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that ends up damaging your health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work and function in daily life. If you’re abusing alcohol, you’re well on the road to alcohol addiction.
You’re probably drinking routinely and in large amounts, or binge drinking, showing poor judgment while intoxicated. However, just because you are abusing alcohol does not always mean you have crossed the line into full addiction. When abusing alcohol, you may or may not have some ability to moderate your alcohol consumption or abstain for periods of time.
But be careful—alcohol abuse may easily lead to addiction.
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, alcohol dependence, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a disease characterized by a person’s inability to control their drinking despite severe negative consequences. Addiction involves physical dependence, tolerance, and cravings for alcohol. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you are most certainly abusing it, so alcoholism almost always entails alcohol abuse.
Someone with an alcohol addiction will continue to compulsively drink even when it begins to destroy their physical health, mental health, relationships, finances, and ability to function at work or school.
When you’ve been addicted to alcohol for a long time and stop drinking, you’re likely to experience terrible withdrawal symptoms. That’s because excessive drinking has altered your brain’s chemistry.
Here’s how alcohol addiction negatively affects the brain:
Are you sure you want to order another one? It’s not easy to say no. Alcohol has immense power over your thoughts and behaviors once addiction sets in. But recovery is possible with the right help and commitment to change.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward a healthier, alcohol-free life, contact Ardu Recovery Center today.
Alcohol abuse still carries risks and warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some key symptoms that your drinking may have crossed over into alcohol abuse territory:
People with alcohol use disorder always abuse booze to the point of physical and emotional addiction.
Alcoholics often try to conceal their drinking habits, but alcohol use disorder manifests itself through an array of physical and psychological symptoms.
Here are some physical symptoms of alcohol addiction:
If you think you may be suffering from any of these physical manifestations of alcoholism, it’s never too soon to ask for help. The sooner you start your road to recovery, the easier the process is for you.
Let’s take a look at some further tell-tale signs it may be time to get help.
Our Utah rehab center will help you break the cycle of dependence on alcohol. At Ardu Recovery Center, we provide comprehensive treatment for alcohol addiction, including medically monitored alcohol detox, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are often conflated. They share similarities that can make you confused: are you abusing alcohol or are you dependent on it?
Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism involve excessive and dangerous drinking. The main similarity is that both indicate unhealthy relationships with booze that require intervention to avoid escalating negative consequences. And while you may abuse it without any signs of dependence or addiction, being addicted to booze means you are severely abusing it.
Here are some of the core similarities between alcohol abuse and addiction:
Don’t hesitate to ask for help and turn to our trained medical staff at Ardu Recovery Center. Our individualized programs address all types of unhealthy drinking to set you on the path to recovery. We employ all forms of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral treatment, motivational interviewing, and experiential treatment to disrupt alcohol dependence.
Take the first step and contact us today.
We’ve seen how alcohol abuse and addiction can overlap in some areas. But despite certain similarities on the surface, the differences between misusing alcohol and becoming clinically dependent run deep.
Here are the following key differences between alcohol abuse and alcohol use disorder:
It’s not easy to quit alcohol. With professional guidance, compassionate support, and proven treatments, a flourishing recovery is possible. At Ardu, we offer a full spectrum of alcohol treatment options to help you triumph over alcohol use.
The first step in treating alcohol dependence is safely managing detox and withdrawal symptoms. We offer both medical detox and holistic detox supervised by caring experts.
Medical detox uses medications to relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, tremors, insomnia, and seizures. Holistic detox relies on nutrition therapy, supplements, acupuncture, exercise therapy, and other non-pharmacological therapies to aid your body’s natural detoxification. With around-the-clock monitoring and supportive care, we ensure your comfort and safety during this pivotal transition.
Our recovery center welcomes anyone who’s struggling with alcohol to overcome their addiction. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you in your treatment process, laying the foundation for long-term sobriety and relapse prevention.
To enroll in an Ardu alcohol rehab program, contact Ardu Recovery Center online or via phone (801-810-1234). We will work with you to find a recovery path that works for you during the detox process and beyond.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides the standard criteria health professionals use for diagnosing addiction. Key criteria include:
If you meet two to three criteria from this list, you might suffer from a mild disorder, meeting four to five is moderate, and six or more, is severe.
Alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorder are essentially two terms for the same diagnosable condition characterized by uncontrolled, compulsive alcohol use despite negative consequences. This compulsive excessive drinking can lead to a wide range of health issues such as heart disease and infectious diseases, liver problems, kidney issues, problems with cognition and memory, and even cancer.
Both terms refer to a chronic substance use disorder where drinking becomes an uncontrollable behavior and primary focus of life. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides criteria for assessing alcohol use disorder, ranging from mild to severe. So while the terminology differs, alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorder both indicate dysfunctional drinking that continues regardless of the many adverse effects.
The two main types of alcoholics are functional alcoholics and chronic alcoholics. Functional alcoholics, also known as high-functioning alcoholics, are able to maintain external signs of success like jobs, relationships, and financial stability despite drinking excessively. Chronic alcoholics suffer severe external consequences where drinking destroys careers, finances, relationships, and physical health.
Both exhibit addiction and uncontrolled consumption, but the key difference is that functional alcoholics disguise it better outwardly despite internal addiction. However, prolonged abuse leads to chronic alcoholism eventually.
Alcoholism is best defined as an involuntary, progressive disease caused by heavy, compulsive drinking that continues despite causing severe behavioral, physical, and mental health consequences. Someone suffering from alcoholism feels powerless to control their urge to consume alcohol persistently, sacrificing health, personal relationships, employment, and stability in the process.
Alcoholism involves physical dependence and constant cravings where drinking becomes necessary to feel normal due to changes in brain neurochemistry brought on by long-term alcohol abuse.
Two major harmful effects of binge drinking are acute intoxication injuries and alcohol poisoning. Consuming more than four drinks for women or five or more drinks for men in under 2 hours causes immediate impairment, raising risks of car crashes, falls, assaults, burns, and other trauma.
Excessive binge drinking also brings the danger of alcohol poisoning through respiratory depression, potentially causing seizures, coma, and even death. Other issues include unintended pregnancies, legal troubles, relationship conflicts, risky sexual behavior, and long-term increased risks of chronic diseases.
The main causes of alcohol abuse are complex and influenced by an interplay of biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors. There is no single dominant cause. Abuse arises from the cumulative impact of multiple predisposing factors interacting for each person.
Key drivers include:
Some key groups that alcohol abuse impacts most are:
While abuse affects all demographics, these groups tend to be disproportionately impacted compared to the general population.
Alcohol or substance abuse refers to the recurring use of alcohol or other drugs in ways that negatively impact health, work, relationships, or finances. This includes heavy drinking, binge drinking, taking medications in ways other than prescribed, and illegal drug use. While sometimes viewed as less severe than addiction, abuse still indicates dangerous, unhealthy consumption that can have significant behavioral, physical, mental, and social consequences. Abuse also often progresses to full addiction if left unchecked.
Ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, is a harmful intoxicating substance in liquors like beer, wine, or liquor. Though popular culturally, ethanol is toxic to the human body in high amounts. It is metabolized by the liver but creates the toxic byproduct acetaldehyde that damages cells and causes widespread inflammation when consumed chronically or in large volumes.
This along with ethanol’s dehydrating effects and impact on brain chemistry leads to a host of medical, psychiatric, behavioral, and social harms connected to alcohol abuse or addiction.
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