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Understanding The Difference Between Alcohol Use and Alcoholism

Remember, recovery is possible with the right treatment plan and commitment. Individuals who are suffering from alcohol addiction could be drinking to deal with stress, sneaking drinks throughout their day, or drinking alone. It is difficult for alcoholics to stay sober, and it can be very dangerous for them to get clean. They should seek professional medical attention to ensure they remain safe and healthy throughout the process. When people use this term, they are typically referring to an alcohol use disorder, which is the diagnostic term for alcohol addiction. Alcoholism generally refers to a disease in which a person is unable to stop drinking.

Alcoholism vs Alcohol Abuse

This profound personal connection fuels her passion for working in the field and enables her to bring a unique blend of empathy and expertise to her role. In 2013, the DSM-5 officially combined alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence into one diagnostic definition — AUD. Notably, this update added craving alcohol and eliminated experiencing legal problems as symptoms, and also described a spectrum What is the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of mild, moderate, and severe AUD (4). The criteria for alcohol dependence syndrome include a strong craving for alcohol, withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, tolerance to alcohol, and continued drinking despite negative consequences. Other symptoms may include neglecting responsibilities, giving up activities, and spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from its effects.

Differences Between Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Medications, such as disulfiram and acamprosate, may also be used to help individuals maintain sobriety. It is important to seek professional help when dealing with alcohol abuse to ensure the best chance of recovery. Alcohol abuse is characterized by excessive drinking that leads to negative consequences, such as impaired judgment, risky behavior, and health problems. It is a pattern of drinking that can cause harm to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Due to the dangerous symptoms of withdrawal that arise when alcoholics try to stop drinking cold turkey, they must go through medical detox to ensure they remain safe.

In 2018, Corey had the opportunity to partner with Amethyst and USR to open The Freedom Center in his to hometown of Gaithersburg, MD. Throughout his tenure at The Freedom Center, he has strategically built relationship with referring providers, hospitals and local government leaders. Corey has continued to grow The Freedom Center brand, educate his local community on Substance Use Disorder and become a pillar of the local recovery community.

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The DSM-IV previously used the term alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence to diagnose alcohol-related disorders. On the other hand, alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a chronic condition that involves the compulsive and uncontrollable consumption of alcohol despite negative consequences. It is characterized by physical and psychological dependence on alcohol, leading to a loss of control over one’s drinking habits. Alcoholism can have severe impacts on a person’s physical health, mental well-being, and relationships. I have over four years of experience helping individuals, couples, and families navigate life’s challenges, including mental health issues, addiction, trauma, grief, and other issues individuals may experience.

  • While you’ll often hear the two terms used to describe the same issue, they’re actually distinct diagnoses.
  • Explore how many people ages 18 to 25 engage in alcohol misuse in the United States and the impact it has.
  • Millions of readers rely on for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges.
  • It’s important to note that these guidelines may vary based on factors such as age, overall health, and individual tolerance.
  • Alcohol abuse was defined as a condition in which a person continues to drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, health, or legal problems as a result of their alcohol use.
  • Referring to this condition as alcohol use disorder is more accurate and less stigmatizing.
  • Symptoms of alcohol abuse include binge drinking, excessive drinking, lying about alcohol intake, and neglecting responsibilities due to drinking.
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