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The major difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism

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The major difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism

Even though used interchangeably, alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not the same. The difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is not known to many and one must understand what each of these terms stands for. In this article, we will explain what is the difference between alcohol and alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse vs alcoholism

Alcoholism is also known as ‘Alcohol Use Disorder’ (AUD) or ‘Alcohol Dependence’. The difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse are:

  1. Not every person who abuses alcohol necessarily depends on alcohol. People who are dependent on alcohol witness withdrawal symptoms when they stop consuming.
  2. Alcohol abuse might be thought of as a milder form of alcoholism. People who abuse alcohol have a higher tendency to become alcohol dependent.
  3. People with alcohol abuse issues are not reliant on alcohol. On the other hand, those who suffer from alcoholism are highly reliant on alcohol and their lives are centered around consuming liquor.
  4. Treatments also vary for both these conditions. Who is suffering from alcoholism would first need to undergo alcohol detox which is not the case with those who abuse alcohol. For both these conditions, the treatment is an amalgamation of medication, therapeutic practices, and support groups.

While an alcoholic would drink without any specific stimuli and depend on alcohol consumption, the alcohol abuse might look like this:

  • Drinking to cope with stress or emotional situations
  • Underage drinking
  • Drinking despite its interference with work or social life
  • Drinking while you are pregnant
  • Taking serious risks while drinking
  • Drinking with prescription pills or other drugs
  • Drinking regularly longer than intended

Hoping that you are now clear on the dilemma of alcoholism vs alcohol abuse, it would be easier to identify alcohol-related issues with yourself or a loved one, if any. Therefore, you can accordingly seek treatment.