Binge Drinking vs Alcoholic: What’s the Difference?

The question of binge drinking vs alcoholic requires understanding the different types of substance use disorders

Substance use disorders include substance abuse, addiction, and dependence. You may wonder whether binge drinking is the same as addiction, and at what point addiction develops. Binge drinking vs alcoholic is a simple matter once you understand what the terms mean.

Binge Drinking vs Alcoholic: What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is the most common form of substance abuse. Substance abuse is the act of using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life, such as financial, health, relationship, or legal problems.

The Centers for Disease Control defines binge drinking as drinking enough alcohol in the space of two hours to bring your blood alcohol content level up to .08 percent. For women, this is typically four drinks. For men, it’s typically five.

Binge Drinking vs Alcoholic: Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Binge drinking vs alcoholic is a question of how much and how often you drink. An alcoholic is someone who is addicted to alcohol. Binge drinking doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted, but binge drinking can lead to addiction.

Addiction is characterized by finding that you can’t stop drinking compulsively, even though your drinking is causing problems in your life. If you’re addicted, you’ll keep drinking despite these problems, and you’ll find it nearly impossible to stop, even if you want to stop or have tried to stop.

Symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

If you have symptoms of alcohol addiction, BAC can help you find a high quality treatment program that will help you end your addiction for good.

Alcohol Abuse vs Dependence vs Addiction

Alcohol abuse is not the same as dependence or addiction, and addiction and dependence are not the same thing, either. Binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse, which can lead to addiction and dependence. The question of abuse vs dependence requires understanding dependence and how it develops.

While addiction is caused by changes in the brain’s learning, memory, and reward systems that lead to compulsive alcohol use, dependence is caused by changes in brain function that occur when your brain tries to compensate for the presence of alcohol.

As you consume more and more alcohol, your brain changes its chemical activity to compensate. This leads to building a tolerance, which means that you need increasingly larger doses of alcohol to get the desired effects. This is an indication that you may be developing a dependence.

At some point, brain function may shift so that your brain operates more comfortably when alcohol is present than when it’s not. Then, when you stop drinking, your normal brain function rebounds, and this causes the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, tremors, and anxiety that occur when you quit drinking are the primary indication that you’ve become dependent on alcohol.

Treating Abuse, Addiction, and Dependence

A high quality treatment program can help you end your alcohol abuse, addiction, and dependence. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that a holistic approach to treatment offers the best outcomes. This type of approach involves both traditional and complementary therapies that address issues of body, mind, and spirit.

The first step of treatment is detox, which treats the dependence by letting traces of alcohol leave your system so brain function can return to normal. The second step is treatment, which involves therapies that help you address a range of issues, learn healthier ways of thinking and behaving, and develop skills to help you combat cravings, stress, and other triggers.

If you’re addicted or dependent – or afraid that your binge drinking will lead to addiction or dependence – call Better Addiction Care today at 1-800-429-7690, and let us help you find a high quality, holistic treatment program that will help you restore your life and end your substance abuse for good.