Many people confuse alcohol abuse and alcoholism, but they are different in many different ways. Alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, doesn’t include an addiction or a very strong craving for alcohol, physical dependence, or loss of control over your drinking. Alcohol abuse follows a pattern of drinking that leads to a variety of life situations including operating machinery or doing other dangerous tasks after drinking heavily, neglecting personal, school, or professional responsibilities, continuing to drink even though you know it is affecting your personal relationships, and getting into legal trouble or financial trouble as a result of your drinking. While it is not the same as alcoholism or addiction to alcohol, many of the symptoms and causes can be the same.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
A variety of signs and symptoms can alert you to possible alcohol abuse including getting frequent injuries from drinking heavily, hurting someone else while drinking, understanding the consequences of drinking such as liver disease but continuing to do so, having friends or loved ones show their worry for your drinking habits, drinking in dangerous situations such as before operating heavy machinery, suffering at work or school because of your excessive drinking, and getting into legal or financial troubles. All of these signs point to abusing alcohol because you’re aware of the dangers of drinking excessively, yet you do it anyway.
Alcohol Abuse VS Addiction
Alcoholism is the term used when someone is dependent on or addicted to alcohol. There are signs that can tell you if someone is addicted to alcohol or abusing it. These signs and symptoms point toward dependence and addiction rather than alcohol abuse. Someone who has to increase the amount they drink to get the same effect, not being able to control how much or how often you drink, trying to quit drinking but being unsuccessful, having severe withdrawal symptoms when you’re sober including anxiety, abdominal pain, shaking, and body tremors, spending most of your time either drinking or recovering, giving up activities so you have more time for drinking, and feeling like alcohol is controlling your life.
Treatments for Alcohol Abuse
A variety of treatment options are available to those suffering from alcohol abuse. The treatment paths are similar for alcohol abuse as well as those with alcoholism, except for some minor changes. For one, the withdrawal stage won’t be so severe. Quitting drinking when you’re addicted is almost impossible and the withdrawal period, the first 48 hours after quitting drinking, can be intense. However when you’re abusing alcohol, you may experience some mild symptoms like pain that alcohol was covering up or slight irritability at not being able to drink, but you don’t feel a loss of control. With alcohol abuse, it is possible to get treatment on your own by making the decision to stop drinking and sticking by this plan. You can also enter treatment programs at local drug rehab centers.