What is the Definition of Alcohol Abuse?


More and more people in developed countries are engaging in excessive, abusive drinking.  As a result of the millions of people throughout the world who drink in an irresponsible and abusive manner, it is asserted that those who abuse alcohol need to get professional help now before they make the transition from alcohol abuse to alcohol dependence. Alcoholism is a profound problem, and the third leading cause of preventable death in the US, after smoking and obesity. Being aware of your risks may prevent you from becoming one of those statistics.

Getting alcohol abuse help before an individual becomes alcohol dependent is actually a “proactive” form of thinking.  An even more proactive type of thinking regarding problem drinking is this:  learn how to drink responsibly and in moderation before your drinking behavior becomes abusive and harmful to your health.

Due to the vast numbers of people in industrialized nations who exhibit abusive drinking behavior, it is important to define alcohol abuse. It’s a drinking pattern that results in failure to attend to important responsibilities, ongoing alcohol-related relationship issues, and experience of recurring alcohol-related legal difficulties.

Since alcohol abuse and alcoholism are both examples of “problem drinking” and are therefore related, it is instructive to differentiate between the two concepts.  Alcoholism, unlike alcohol abuse, includes an increase in alcohol tolerance, a strong craving for alcohol, and a physical dependence on alcohol.  Alcoholism also includes a total loss of control regarding the consumption of alcohol.  Once a person who engages in abusive drinking cannot control his or her drinking, cannot do without alcohol, and experiences withdrawal symptoms when he or she tries to quit drinking, this person has made the unfortunate transition from alcohol abuse to alcohol dependency, also known as alcoholism and alcohol addiction.

Similar to what happens when individuals abuse other drugs, many people who drink irresponsibly, who engage in binge drinking, or who regularly abuse alcohol for whatever reason eventually become addicted to alcohol.  Stated a little differently, the more an individual abuses alcohol, the more probable it is that he or she will become an alcoholic.

There is some common sense and basic information about alcohol abuse and alcoholism that is apparently not understood by many people who drink in an excessive and abusive manner. Why not get alcohol abuse help before you are an alcoholic and lose total control over your drinking?  Why not get alcohol abuse help before you become an alcohol-dependent person and become a master at lying, deceit, and manipulation?  Why not get alcohol abuse help before you become addicted to alcohol and suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking?

If you learn how to drink responsibly and in moderation, you will not have to worry about all of the negative consequences that are associated with excessive and abusive drinking.  And if you are one of the rare individuals who simply cannot drink any alcohol, then you will have to refrain from drinking any alcohol.  In a word, alcoholism and alcohol abuse prevention is far easier and far healthier than facing any of the damaging effects of abusive and excessive drinking.

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