Alcoholism vs Alcohol Abuse: What’s the Difference?

Generally, however, the difference between alcohol misuse and AUD lies in looking at how a person drinks in the short term, as opposed to over a prolonged period of time. If you have developed alcohol dependence and decide to quit drinking, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. According to information Patients of sober living centers are often last to know about closures from the National Institutes of Health, these discomforts usually peak 24 to 72 hours after your last drink, but they may last for weeks. The official move away from the terms “abuse” and “dependence” in the DSM-5 is also reflective of a shift in how professionals talk about alcohol and substance use.

  • Delirium tremens is a symptom of severe alcohol withdrawal that can be potentially fatal.
  • Although both come with risks, there are some key differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
  • This inability to change their thinking is also why remission from alcoholism requires very targeted addiction treatment.
  • It takes tremendous strength and courage to face alcohol abuse and alcoholism head on.

AUD isn’t directly caused by genetics, but genetics may predispose you to developing AUD later in life. This risk is considered hereditary and may be passed down to you if you have a family history of AUD. Genetics aren’t the only way your parents or caregivers can influence AUD risk. Living in a household where you’re regularly exposed to parental alcohol use can also increase your chances of AUD, regardless of your genetic predisposition. A review of studies from 2020, which looked at a genome-wide analysis of more than 435,000 people, found 29 different genetic variants that increased the risk of problematic drinking.

Alcoholic Tendencies and How to Avoid Them

Individuals who drink daily struggle with alcoholism, whereas alcohol abusers will only binge drink on the weekends or a few times per week. While alcohol dependency is more severe than alcohol abuse, it’s important to address alcohol abuse before it becomes an alcohol addiction. Ultimately, alcohol abuse consists of dangerous and destructive drinking patterns that increase the risk of alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse becomes a coping mechanism of temporarily dealing with unwanted feelings or emotions in many cases. The individual turns to alcohol for comfort of some type or as a way to dull pain or anguish. Visit the Alcohol Treatment Navigator web page (located on the NIAAA website) when you’re ready to search for a treatment provider. People may drink for its depressant effects or the feelings of calm, relaxation, and well-being it produces. There are several forms of abuse, with varying degrees of drinking with each. If you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or ending your life, know that you’re not alone.

Find a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rehab Center in Iowa

Drinking excessively is never safe, which is why both conditions require treatment. Alcohol abuse is any consistent or constant dangerous or problematic behavior with respect to drinking or alcohol use. A person may drink off and on, but that does not mean they suffer from this condition. Alcohol abusers are constantly experiencing issues related to their drinking. That said, more severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are dangerous.

distinguish between alcohol abuse and alcoholism

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