The images that we often see and stereotypes that we hold about alcoholics have always been misleading. It surprises many people when they discover that people abusing alcohol can present a well put-together picture to the outside world. Often, people who abuse alcohol function at a high level by raising families, holding down jobs, and appearing quite successful. Despite popular conceptions, the distinctions, however subtle, between alcoholism and alcohol abuse do exist. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, contact Just Believe Recovery’s alcohol rehab in Texas.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALCOHOLISM AND ALCOHOL ABUSE?
Alcohol abuse occurs when people continue to drink despite having run-ins with the law, difficulty in personal relationships, trouble with work, and other consequences. The American Psychological Association makes the distinction that abusers of alcohol have patterns of drinking that “results in significant and recurrent adverse consequences.”
On the contrary, people with alcohol dependence, most often referred to as alcoholism, have lost any control of their drinking. More often than not, they are incapable of stopping drinking and will experience potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms when they do.
People suffering from alcoholism have a pattern of attempting to detox on their own. Although they sincerely try, they encounter very difficult withdrawal symptoms that they can’t handle. As a result, the entire detox effort proves impossible and they return to using alcohol.
WHAT IS ALCOHOL ABUSE?
As stated above, we define abuse as a person’s unwillingness to quit drinking despite dire and life-disrupting consequences. With regard to alcohol abuse, it helps to keep these facts in mind:
- A person does not have to drink every day to abuse alcohol
- Oftentimes, infrequent drinkers are perpetual binge drinkers and will consume many drinks in less than two hours and ignore the consequences of their behavior
- Males that consume 15 or more drinks per week would be considered abusers of alcohol
- Females that drink eight or more drinks per week would be considered abusers of alcohol
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACTS?
When contemplating, what is alcohol abuse? The information available might seem confusing. According to the definitions, it may seem that it is less dangerous than alcohol dependence. Each disorder has its place on the spectrum of alcohol disorders. However, the long-term consequences are dire in either case. Long-term effects may include:
- Stomach damage
- Heart conditions
- Some cancers
- Brain damage
- Cirrhosis of the liver
In addition to the havoc that it can wreak on the body, it can also have a severe impact on your mental health. Moreover, many people who abuse alcohol experience memory loss and new or exacerbated depression and anxiety.