News & Media
News and Updates from Residence XII staff and the treatment community
Tuesday, October 25, 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