Alcohol, Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
No one sets out to develop an addiction. In fact, there are millions of people who drink alcohol socially who will never develop an addiction.
And there are some who don’t drink socially, but they drink regularly enough that it’s a habit – part of their routine. In fact, because society condones drinking alcohol, it’s easy for someone to welcome alcohol into their lives on a regular basis.
Someone might drink on the weekends or after work with friends. The quantity of alcohol that a person ingests can partly indicate whether that person is abusing alcohol.
Abuse of alcohol is when a person drinks in unsafe ways. Perhaps they drink large amounts of alcohol in short periods of time. They might drink with the intention of getting drunk. Or they might drink and combine alcohol with other substances.
These are examples of alcohol abuse. However, alcohol abuse is not the same as alcoholism. When someone abuses alcohol, they put themselves at risk for developing an addiction to alcohol. However, there are many men and women who have used alcohol in unsafe ways, but who do not have an addiction.
Alcoholism is an illness that develops from the habitual use of alcohol, while alcohol abuse is simply the overusing and abusing of alcohol.
Alcoholism may include all the consequences that come with alcohol abuse, such as poor health, hangovers, poor relationships, and more. Just like any illness, alcoholism has specific symptoms and characteristics that clearly indicate a person has a disorder.
For instance, according to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholics (NIAA), there are four key signs that point to alcoholism. These are:
Cravings: You have compulsive needs to drink alcohol.
Loss of Control: You have lost the ability to stop drinking even when you want to. You feel as though you have not control of whether you drink or not.
Withdrawal Symptoms: When you’re not drinking, you begin to have symptoms of withdrawal. This indicates that your body has formed a dependence to alcohol.
Tolerance: You find that you have to drink more and more alcohol to experience the same high you once felt.
Alcoholism is considered a chronic illness that requires ongoing care and attention. Fortunately, recent research on the brain has provided great insights into the illness of alcoholism. For instance, it’s clear that addiction affects the brain in significant ways.
After a period of continued consumption of alcohol, the reward circuitry in the brain creates compulsory behavior such that even when a person wants to quit drinking, they can’t.
There are some people who have a genetic predisposition to addiction and who may be more vulnerable to addiction than others. Of course, anyone who is abusing alcohol regularly is at the greatest risk for developing an addiction to alcohol.
If you find yourself drinking on a regular basis and especially if you have compulsory cravings to drink, it’s important to get professional help. Addiction can worsen over time. Breaking the cycle of addiction may require the support of mental health professionals.
If you’re struggling with alcoholism, call for help today.
Connections in Recovery
For seven years, Connections in Recovery (CiR) has been a vital resource to individuals across the country. Our compassionate and innovative Case Managers, Interventionists, on-staff Clinical Director, and Recovery Companions coordinate care and assistance to hundreds of people struggling with addiction and mental health problems — inspiring individuals and families to face life’s challenges and achieve greater personal and economic independence.
Dedicated to helping individuals overcome their issues, CiR connects them with the best-fit services, professional support, and treatment resources. Our highly trained staff is available 24/7 to quickly and easily connect clients with the very best treatment teams. We care about you and your recovery. Our kind and knowledgeable staff is dedicated to this concept.
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