The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today. Detoxing from alcohol can seem daunting, but it is the first and arguably most important step in becoming sober. Alcohol detox can be uncomfortable or even dangerous, but with professional help can be a safe experience.

Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not the same thing, but both are commonly thought of as “alcoholism”. Alcohol dependence is defined by physiologic dependence on alcohol from consistent, heavy use.

What is the Difference between Alcohol Abuse & Dependence

To learn more about alcohol treatment options and search for quality care near you, please visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator. Several evidence-based treatment approaches are available for AUD.

Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism

People who begin drinking — especially binge drinking — at an early age are at a higher risk of alcohol use disorder. If a person is believed to be abusing alcohol, but not addicted, he or she may be able to get their life back on track with the help of friends and family. Once they are educated on the impact of alcohol abuse, these people often realize that a change is necessary. Behavioral treatments, also known as alcohol counseling or “talk therapy,” provided by licensed therapists are aimed at changing drinking What is the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism behavior. Examples of behavioral treatments are brief interventions and reinforcement approaches, treatments that build motivation and teach skills for coping and preventing relapse, and mindfulness-based therapies. Severity is based on the number of criteria a person meets based on their symptoms—mild (2–3 criteria), moderate (4–5 criteria), or severe . Using alcohol during adolescence (from preteens to mid-20s) may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life.

What Is Alcohol Dependence?

If you believe you have a medical emergency, you should immediately call 911. If the drinker is unable to resolve alcohol problems fully, a psychologist can help with reducing alcohol use and minimizing problems. Before implementing any interventions, the evaluation plan should also be developed. Potential baseline, process, health outcome, and organizational change measures for these programs are listed under evaluation of alcohol and substance misuse programs. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening and counseling for excessive drinking for all adult patients.

  • Bone loss can lead to thinning bones and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Social and environmental factors such as peer pressure and the easy availability of alcohol can play key roles.
  • People with a history of emotional trauma or other trauma are at increased risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • While no longer separate diagnoses, it can be helpful to understand the differences between the two.

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