Alcohol Abuse Or Alcoholism

Is it alcohol abuse or alcoholism? While some people are acutely aware of their alcoholism, many are unsure whether their drinking truly constitutes a problem. How do you know if you are an alcoholic or just someone who drinks a lot? When is problem drinking considered alcoholism?

Alcohol is a legal drug that is consumed by a good portion of the worldwide population on a regular basis. All types of people drink alcohol, and for many people, drinking is thought to be a relatively harmless, social activity. Alcohol is a common way to celebrate and unwind.

What Is The Difference Between Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism?

Many people would be surprised to know that they abuse alcohol. While occasionally having a couple of drinks, isn’t a problem, it doesn’t take much to cross the line between normal drinking and problem drinking. And, there is no hard and fast rule, because alcohol affects everyone differently. For example, if you can have three drinks and still function normally, you wouldn’t necessarily be abusing alcohol. However, if three drinks cause you to pass out, throw up or significantly impairs your ability to walk, talk or behave yourself in public, you are abusing alcohol.

If you are drinking five or more drinks in a two-hour window, that is considered heavy drinking. If this is a normal occurrence for you, it can be considered problem drinking. Does this mean you are an alcoholic, though? Not necessarily.

Alcohol abuse is problem drinking. Your drinking is excessive and creating problems for you, or is impairing you. Many people who drink alcohol will go through at least one bout of alcohol abuse. This may be a one-time occurrence, where they drink too much and black out or get in a fight or otherwise embarrass themselves. Or, the person may have a stretch of time where they simply drink too much. While overindulging in alcohol can cause problems, it’s not always an indication of alcoholism.

How Can You Tell If You Are An Alcoholic?

It’s common for people to not realize they have a problem until they try to stop drinking. This may happen because a loved one has asked them to stop or cut down, or because they find themselves in a situation where they need to stop drinking. It’s when they can’t stop that they realize they may be an alcoholic.

The person who engages in alcohol abuse can stop. The alcoholic can’t stop, even when there are severe consequences. Someone who is suffering from alcoholism will continue to drink even when their lives are falling apart around them. They may black out and not know what they are doing, they may risk their jobs and their health, but they won’t stop. People suffering from alcoholism will often be confronted by friends and family members who are concerned, and will deny they have a problem. Denial is a big part of alcoholism, and one of the reasons why it is so hard to recognize your own problem. Here are some signs to look for when trying to determine whether you have a problem or not.

  • You have tried to stop or reduce your drinking, but you keep going back to it.
  • It takes more alcohol than it used to have the same effect.
  • You can’t have just one drink.
  • You tend to avoid social situations where alcohol won’t be served.
  • If you find yourself in a social situation where you can’t drink, you feel uncomfortable and anxious.
  • You tell yourself you are going to stop after one, two or three drinks, but you always drink far more than that.
  • You find that you have to apologize for your behavior when you are drinking.
  • You frequently don’t remember the things you do when you drink.
  • Your friends and family have come to you with concerns about your drinking.
  • You find that you regret things you do and say when you are drunk, but it doesn’t stop you from drinking more.

When a person is an alcoholic, they have little ability to control their drinking. This continues until they are willing to get help to stop their drinking. Problem drinking is generally a temporary issue, and the person is able to stop or limit their alcohol intake. However, it’s important to realize that the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a thin line. Problem drinking can quickly escalate into alcoholism. If you find that you can’t stop drinking, even when you want to, it may be time to talk to someone about your problem.

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