Alcohol Abuse Versus Alcohol Dependence

2017-01-28T00:17:39+00:00 October 25th, 2016|

When it comes to having a drinking problem, there are two types that an individual might identify with –alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. Distinguishing the difference between the two is very important because it can help one understand the kind of help that they should receive.  Alcohol abuse is associated with people who engage in risky behaviors, while alcohol dependence is considered a more serious, long-term chronic disease. Explore our blog to learn the differences between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, the signs and symptoms of each, as well as treatment options that are available.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse occurs when a person who is a heavy drinker continues to drink, regardless of the results. Someone who abuses alcohol will often place themselves in situations that are high risk, dangerous and considered unsafe. Alcohol abuse can consist of drinking that does not occur on a consistent basis, but rather once a week or once every few weeks. The problem is that when alcohol abusers do drink, they put themselves in risky situations or drink to the point of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol abuse can eventually lead to alcohol dependence.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

  • Memory loss or blackouts
  • Accidents or injuries after drinking
  • Drinking continues despite knowing he/she will be driving or doing something that will be risky while impaired
  • Alcohol consumption interferes with work or other activities due to being hung over or sick
  • Drinking even though there are physical conditions that would be worsened by drinking.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is a long-term chronic disease in which a person has developed an unhealthy addiction to alcohol. Alcohol dependency is a physical and/or mental dependency on alcohol that has specific symptoms  associated with it such as:

  • Craving – a strong need or desire to drink
  • Loss of Control – an inability to stop drinking; a feeling of no control of the situation
  • Physical Dependence –withdrawals such as nausea, sweating, vomiting and insomnia when not drinking
  • Tolerance – a person needs more alcohol to satisfy cravings and to get drunk

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

There are many options available when it comes to treating alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Most individuals who are addicted to alcohol need professional counseling to overcome their addiction. In cases where a person is physically dependent on alcohol, hospitalization or medication may be required to help through detoxing or withdrawal symptoms. People who struggle with alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence can recover well with an effective intervention and treatment, as well as with the help of support groups and self-change methods.

About Residence XII

Residence XII offers alcohol treatment and drug rehab for women that empower women while leading them on their journey to recovery. At Residence XII, we welcome all women (+18) and aim to provide the highest quality inpatient and outpatient treatment for addiction available. Residence xii also offers a family program aimed at helping family members and loved ones understand how to best help the patient in recovery. Contact us for a free drug and alcohol assessment or to learn more about how we treat women with drug or alcohol dependency. Residence XII is state licensed by CARF (commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and a member of the NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers).