The Difference Between Alcohol Dependency and Alcohol Abuse

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Home & Family | Comments Off on The Difference Between Alcohol Dependency and Alcohol Abuse

The Difference Between Alcohol Dependency and Alcohol Abuse

If you’re in need to be helped by the UK’s leading local alcohol rehab centres, you will have to first identify the extent and nature of the problem. Given the way in which most people have widely different opinions and views when it comes to alcohol, it could be quite difficult to draw any sensible line between true alcoholism and heavy drinking.

Recent research has shown that alcohol abuse is unquestionably rife in the UK, with common intake guidelines often being completely flouted. It is far from secret that drinking alcohol in excess can be extremely harmful, though true alcoholism itself is seen as the most harmful and dangerous condition by far.

Most experts believe that the only solution to regaining control of the drinking problems of the nation lies in improving public education on the subject and generating awareness. So in terms of drinking that could become problematic, what is the exact difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency?

Alcohol Abuse

To consider alcohol abuse first, this term refers to any instance when a person consistently and routinely abuses alcohol in heavy quantities, in spite of the fact that this is having a direct negative influence on their life in general. Contrary to what many people believe, alcohol abuse is a known medical condition and when recognised it must be brought to the attention of the professionals. Despite that binge drinking is technically recognised as alcohol abuse due to the alcohol amount being consumed, alcohol abuse generally refers to routine and habitual condition on a frequent or on-going basis.

In most cases, an alcohol abuse diagnosis could be made when a person presents one or a few of the following signs:

  • Alcohol drinking habits leading to negative consequences in other personal areas of life. It could be that their professional or home life is suffering as a direct result of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Using alcohol in a situation where it is highly dangerous to be intoxicated, being fully aware of the dangers they are putting others and themselves in. Driving after consuming alcohol being the most common example.
  • Having legal problems resulting directly from drinking alcohol and negative behaviour while intoxicated.
  • Social or interpersonal problems caused by excessive drinking, though the person in question continues consuming alcohol regardless.

Alcohol Addiction

Recognised as significantly more harmful and dangerous than alcohol abuse, alcoholism is considered a chronic disease. The exact difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction is the way those who abuse alcohol on an on-going basis might still have a relative amount of control over their actions, perhaps even being able to stop if they choose so. By contrast, people facing an alcohol addiction find it impossible to stop or to even reduce consumption without professional help. What’s more, trying to reduce alcohol consumption or quit on their own may have the potential to prove extremely dangerous or even fatal.

Alcoholism is usually diagnosed by the following symptoms and signs:

  • Needing more and more alcohol on an on-going basis in order to get intoxicated to the same level. Higher and higher tolerance is a very strong sign of alcoholism.
  • Physical or mental withdrawal symptoms during a period between drinking sessions. These symptoms may manifest in the form of insomnia, anxiety, shaking, vomiting, an elevated heartbeat, disorientation or hallucinations.
  • Drinking considerably more than intended on a frequent basis and drinking despite a decision to quit.
  • Spending the majority of your waking life either drunk or recovering from the effects of the last drinking session.
  • Focusing exclusively or primarily on alcohol drinking, while at the same time ignoring other important life aspects or cutting them off entirely.
  • Continuing to drink a harmful amount of alcohol in spite of having suffered negative physical and mental side effects and fully realising that what you are doing is damaging on many levels.

What separates alcohol dependency from alcohol abuse it the complete loss of control in spite of realising that the condition needs to be addressed. However, both conditions are very serious and have the potential to cause a number of negative effects or to be even fatal. There is no alcohol-related issue too small to bring to the attention of the professionals. By offering a little piece of advice or guidance, the professionals can often help nip a growing problem in the bud, before it has been given time to intensify.