Let’s define the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction or dependence.
The Definition of Alcohol Abuse from Psychology Today:
It is possibly to abuse alcohol and not be addicted or physically dependent on alcohol as a drug. Basically if you are binge drinking and getting into trouble because of your drinking you are abusing alcohol however that does not make you an alcoholic and you may not have a physical dependancy. Many people who abuse alcohol can go long periods of time without any withdrawal symptoms or any side effects at all from not drinking, when they do drink however it generally means there will be problems.
This is when you start having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink, your body has gotten so use to having alcohol in it that it doesn’t know how to properly function without a certain level of alcohol in your blood now. You are physically dependent on alcohol, without it you will feel terrible as well as plenty of other symptoms.
You can abuse alcohol and not be dependent on alcohol however it is difficult to be dependent on alcohol and not abuse it. That said there are people who are physically dependent to alcohol but wouldn’t fall into the category of alcohol abuse. You can develop a physical dependance to alcohol with even a small regular amounts.
From Psychology Today:
Technically Alcohol dependance and alcohol addiction are the same thing, but I tend to break them up since as I said it is possible to be alcohol dependent and never be a “drunk.”
Some of the symptoms of Alcohol Abuse, basically negative life consequences of your drinking. It is possible to have some, all or any mix of the following and there are plenty more that could be added to this list. For the sake of simplicity we will just list the more common ones.
You can add everything in the above list on alcohol abuse to symptoms of alcoholism as well. Also same as above, you can have some of these symptoms, all of them or any combination.
Some other symptoms of alcoholism might include:
So there is a bit of a list, however with all the people I have worked with over the years that were struggling with alcoholism and and asked me “what are the symptoms of alcoholism,” they already knew if they were an alcoholic or not. I know we try to fool ourselves and make excuses and stories up to justify our drinking but deep down inside we know if we are an alcoholic or not without looking at any list of symptoms of alcoholism.
Look in the mirror, do you like what you see? If not then maybe it is time to do something about it. When I have been talking to people about their possible admittance into a rehab I generally don’t care to much about how much you drink in a day or week, I am more concerned with how does it affect your life.
I have spoken to literally tens of thousands of people struggling with addiction and showing all the symptoms of alcoholism. One symptom of alcoholism that we didn’t put in here is denial, basically denying to yourself that you have a problem with alcohol. You know what though, most everyone by the time they started looking for a solution were past that point. I never once had anyone say, “You know I don’t have any problem with alcohol at all, I’m just doing this because my wife wants me to go.” I know there are people in complete denial, but they are not reading websites about the symptoms of alcoholism or calling a guy that can advise which is the best treatment for them.
By the time someone gets to the point of picking up the phone or researching symptoms of alcoholism the penny had already drop and they know it is time to try and get some help. If I can help you in any way, be it advice on the best place you can get treatment or possibly a referral to a local therapist, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.