The Missing Link: Understanding Alcohol Abuse-Dependence Connection
Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency are two conditions that have many things in common, and this leads to a certain amount of confusion as to exactly what symptoms they refer. According to the National Institute of Health, around 18 million people in the US suffer from some form of alcohol use disorder, and this number could increase as alcohol is now becoming cheaper and more socially acceptable. If you are concerned about your level of alcohol use, or a loved one is exhibiting signs of an alcohol disorder, then this article will provide you with all the information you need to identify exactly what type of disorder you are dealing with.
Alcohol abuse, also known as problem drinking or binge drinking, refers to a condition where people drink to the point where they cannot control their actions and often get into trouble as a result of their inebriated state. Their work and personal life will often suffer as a result of their drinking, and they may have difficulty dealing with stress without the numbing effect of alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a vicious cycle that leads people to believe that they cannot function in social situations without being drunk. This belief then leads to a severe hangover the next day and feelings of guilt and shame regarding their actions, and the addicted person will often begin drinking again the next day to suppress these feelings. Alcohol abuse usually gets worse over time, and if the person does not seek help they can easily slip into alcohol dependency.
Those that are dependent on alcohol are known as alcoholics, and this means that the addiction to alcohol is physical as well as psychological. Alcoholics will experience withdrawal symptoms once their blood alcohol level begins to drop, and symptoms include shaking, anxiety, irritability, sweating, and nausea. Like alcohol abusers, alcoholics will begin to neglect certain areas of their life, and this will eventually lead to them avoiding all situations where they are unable to drink. People dependent on alcohol are unable to discontinue drinking without great personal effort, and many cannot do so without some form of professional help such as a biophysical detox program. They will also become completely obsessed with alcohol and may fly into a rage if they are unable to obtain it.
Although alcohol abuse is generally considered to be a less serious disorder than alcohol dependency, it can occasionally lead to much more serious consequences. Alcoholics will start to build a tolerance to alcohol over time, and more and more alcohol is required to feel an effect. Alcohol abusers may only drink during weekends, but they often drink such large quantities that it puts them at risk of accident, injury, and alcohol poisoning. Not all alcohol abusers will eventually become alcoholics, but they are at a much greater risk than those who only drink socially or within the recommended guideline amounts. If alcohol use is affecting your life, it is important to seek help as soon as possible before the addiction spirals out of control. Even though it is widely available and used by more than half the population, alcohol is still a drug, and long-term abuse can lead to sickness, disease, and even death.
Author: George C. has studied alcoholism for several years. He often writes to help others better understand the causes, effects, and possible solutions to deal with alochol dependency.