Well, how do you differentiate between whether you are an alcoholic or you are just someone who is getting abused by alcohol??
The criteria for alcohol dependence is also known as alcoholism are very specific however they are quite similar to that of alcohol abuse. But the main difference alcoholism and alcohol abuse have to do with the severity of the symptoms.
Signs of Alcoholism
Individuals who are dependent on alcohol needs it often to get through the day. But they also have high tolerance level and need more and more drinks to feel its effect.
Individuals who are alcoholics also suffer from withdrawal signs hence to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal they keep drinking.The symptoms of withdrawal include tremors, anxiety, sweating, insomnia, nausea, depression, fatigue, headache, and irritability.
Withdrawal and tolerance are very specific signs of alcoholism(alcohol dependence). However, there are other signs too, which include:
- Losing control – you can’t stop yourself from drinking too much and too often, no matter how hard you keep trying.
- You are drinking in spite of the financial, legal, and personal problems that it is causing you.
- Allowing alcohol drinking — and thinking about only drinking to dominate your day-to-day responsibilities and activities.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
The difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse is just a matter of slight degree.
If you are one of those individuals who is abusing alcohol but is not yet dependent on it, and you might also feel or experience a little bit of tolerance or a small degree of withdrawal, but nothing as severe as what a true alcoholic goes through.
As an alcohol abuser, the first signs will be neglecting your responsibilities so that you can drink. For instance, you have to call in sick to work because of hangovers or you don’t get enough time to spend with your kids because you feel the urge of going out for drinking with friends.
Other signs of alcohol abuse include:
- Taking serious risks while drinking like you drink and drive or you are mixing alcohol with prescription drugs to enhance your high.
- Continue to use alcohol even when you get hurt from drinking or get sick.
- Your drinking habit is attached to emotions, such as drinking to distress or to cope with feelings of bad times or depression.
Health Implications for Alcohol Abusers
Whenever an individual abuses alcohol, they often engage themselves in high-risk behaviors and others too at risk. They also cause harm to their health through prolonged abusive drinking, such as when someone does binge drinking. These impacts not only affect a person in the short term, but it can also have implications for the rest of their life.
Health issues that can be a direct result of abusing alcohol include:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancy
- Liver damage
- Neurological damage
- Sexual dysfunction
There is significant research to show that alcohol abuse, especially binge drinking, have the negative impact on a person’s brain cells, even in the short term. Substantial brain damage has been seen in various parts of the brain after just 4 days of drinking.
Health Implications for Alcohol Dependent People
There are many serious health issues that an individual who suffers from alcoholism may face. Alcohol dependent individuals can suffer from the same health problems that a person who abuses alcohol does, however, some issues are noncurable.
- Alcoholism can lead to the following secondary diseases like:
- Liver disease – hepatitis and cirrhosis are the most common
- Brain disease or brain damage
- Cancer – liver, bowel, pancreas and digestive tract cancers are particularly high in people who are alcohol dependent.
- Heart disease – cardiovascular disease and heart attack
How to Avoid Alcohol Abuse Turning Into Alcoholism
If you feel that are still in the abuse phase with your drinking, then you have a strong chance to turn things around before you become an alcoholic.
Many people start off drinking as a way to relax, chill out with friends and unwind at the end of the day and that the point where it turns to abuse you.
So, how can relax without alcohol?
Well, when you feel the urge for that drink, go for this alternative:
- Read a good book.
- Talk with a friend over coffee.
- Start a hobby or any other healthy activity.