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Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that 3 million deaths worldwide are caused by alcohol abuse or the harmful use of alcohol? Alcohol is a common beverage option for adults in the United States, but it’s important that you find a healthy balance between consuming these beverages rather than taking part in alcohol abuse.

Moderate drinking is okay by society’s standards. Alcoholism could do some major damage to your health as well as other aspects of your life. That said, it’s important that you understand the difference between alcohol abuse vs. alcoholism.

The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn the difference thanks to this helpful alcohol abuse guide. Keep reading to learn more about what is alcohol abuse today!

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

The big difference when it comes to alcohol abuse vs. alcoholism is the fact that alcohol abuse is a chosen action that someone is choosing to take.

These people have full control of their body and their actions and choose to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol.

If you take part in excessive drinking then odds are that you’re someone that has trouble with alcohol abuse.

The general rule of thumb to determine if you’re going through alcohol abuse is around 15 drinks each week for men and around eight drinks per week for women.

Binge drinking is another dangerous sign of alcohol abuse, and it is quite prevalent among younger adults during college. Binge drinking involves consuming four or more drinks in one sitting.

  • Signs of Alcohol Abuse

You need to keep your eyes open for certain signs that your friend, family member, or loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse. Knowing the signs is a great way to stay informed and find ways to help this person get through a difficult period in their life.

The most important thing to keep an eye on when it comes to alcohol abuse is frequent cases of binge drinking.

If this person is binge drinking multiple times per week then you have every right to start worrying about their physical and mental health. It’s especially important to look for this since college students are going Back to school and alcohol is likely to be present.

Getting blackout drunk is another worrisome sign that your loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse.

alcoholism vs alcohol abuse

If you confront them about their drinking habits it’s quite likely that they’ll cover their behavior with excuses. These people will also say that alcohol helps them have fun or relax.

You might also hear an individual that is experiencing alcohol abuse say that they plan on drinking to get drunk.

If you hear this, it’s fair to say that your loved one is a perfect example of someone going through alcohol abuse. It’s a good idea to consider finding help in order to aid this person in getting their life back.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is another word that gets used in place of Alcohol Use Disorder, but they mean the same thing and represent the same problems. Alcoholism differs from alcohol abuse in the sense that the person with alcohol abuse is making a conscious decision to drink more alcohol with the intent to get drunk.

Someone that is suffering from alcoholism is unable to control their drinking no matter how badly they wish to stop. It’s a disease rather than a choice or a decision.

  • Signs of Alcoholism

There are a number of signs that you need to look for if you suspect that someone you know is suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder. Many people that suffer from AUD have a difficult time drinking the amount that they intended to.

Often, they’ll continue drinking well past the point of what they planned to. They’ll have no ability to control them self or their alcohol consumption. These people also tend to suffer from unconquerable cravings for more alcohol.

It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing, these cravings will overpower everything else in life. It’s to the point that your loved one will genuinely want to quit drinking but find themselves incapable of changing or stopping.

It’s also common for people that are suffering from AUD to continue drinking even as their health issues pile up as a result of alcohol consumption.

alcohol abuse vs addiction

A doctor might tell these people that if they continue drinking it could kill them, but they’ll continue drinking regardless.

People that are suffering from alcoholism will also start to lose interest in other aspects of life.

If you notice your loved one avoiding family get-together and other big events due to alcohol then it could be a sign. Relationships also tend to fall off as a result of drinking.

  • Treatment Options for Alcoholism

It’s important to remember that alcoholism, or AUD, is a legitimate disease. Your loved one needs to seek treatment to overcome it and live a long and happy life.

The best option for treatment for your loved one is a stay in a medical detox facility. These facilities provide the support that your friend or loved one needs during this difficult time.

These facilities are designed to help people that are suffering from alcoholism go through withdrawals. Withdrawals are quite dangerous and could prove fatal without proper care.

After detoxing, your loved one will enter in an inpatient or outpatient rehab program to help them get back on their feet.

Inpatient facilities are a bit more intensive and they have the patients live on-site. The outpatient option allows patients to live at home and come to the facility for treatment and counseling. It’s a great way to recover and move on from AUD.

Now You Know the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcoholism

It’s important that you know how to distinguish alcohol abuse vs. alcoholism, especially if you’re starting to worry about a friend or a loved one.

Alcohol abuse is a choice that someone is making to continue drinking harmful amounts of alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease that keeps someone from quitting alcohol no matter how much they want to stop.

For more eye-opening and engaging articles like this one, check out the rest of our blog today!

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