Alcoholism vs Alcohol Addiction: Are They the Same Thing?

Some people use the words, “alcoholism” and “alcohol addiction” interchangeably. However, these two terms do not refer to the same thing. You will find there is a difference. The following information explains the distinctions made between an addiction to alcohol and alcoholic behavior.

The Difference Between Alcoholism and an Alcohol Addiction

To distinguish between alcoholism and alcohol addiction, you need to define each of these terms. Alcoholism is more severe and is often described as an alcohol use disorder (AUD). On the other hand, medical professionals define an addiction to alcohol as a misuse of alcohol.

Alcohol misuse refers to single events where the abuser drinks to excess. When these events happen repeatedly and start impacting the drinker’s health, an addiction becomes an AUD.

AUD is a Prevailing Health Problem

An AUD may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAA, about 1.5 million people struggle with alcoholism in the U.S. When a person progresses to this point, their life takes a decided turn for the worst.

When people enter alcohol recovery then, it is important for practitioners to learn more about their alcohol use – whether it is marked by short-term episodes or regular periods of drinking. Alcoholics have trouble stopping their consumption even if that is their wish. Therefore, alcoholism can ultimately affect their relationships and health.

The CDC defines a moderate consumption of alcohol as up to two drinks for men and up to one drink for women weekly.

On the other hand, experts in the field of alcohol abuse define excessive alcohol consumption as 15+ drinks for men each week and 8 or more drinks for women.

An addiction to alcohol can extend to the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women or children under the age of 21 years old.

Signs that Your Alcohol Use Falls Under the Classification of an AUD

Today’s term for alcoholism is AUD, which begins in its mild form in the following ways.

  • The user drinks longer than intended.
  • The drinker tries to stop drinking but feels powerless.
  • The abuser often gets sick from drinking.
  • The user is obsessed with getting a drink.
  • Getting sick from drinking interferes with daily activities.
  • Drinking has led to increased risks during swimming, using equipment at work, or driving.
  • The abuser has experienced blackouts.
  • The drinker is finding that he or she needs to drink more to achieve the same effect.

Taking the Step toward Recovery

To overcome an alcohol misuse problem (addiction) or alcoholism (AUD), you need to learn more about how a recovery program will help you combat the problem. You cannot withdraw “cold turkey.” To safely overcome an addiction or AUD, you need medical monitoring. If you don’t want to leave your home, you can always try an online medication assisted treatment, a combination of psychotherapy or counseling  with  certain medications.

People who drink to excess will experience delirium tremens during withdrawal. This condition produces symptoms, such as hallucinations, shakiness, nausea, chills, and confusion. Therefore, to withdraw more comfortably, you need medical support.

Medical professionals in rehab or recovery can administer medications that will make you more comfortable. You will also receive support through counseling and behavioral therapy. To avoid a relapse, recovery professionals must combine medically monitored withdrawals with counseling.

Don’t Wait to Seek Treatment

Learn more about your treatment options today. Whether you have an addiction or AUD, you need to enroll in therapy.

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