What Is Responsible Drinking and What Is Alcohol Abuse? Where’s the Line?
Alcoholism is in the media all the time. Warnings from doctors and health care professionals tell us the effects of alcohol on the body, and it’s frightening. If asked, most everyone would be able to tell you that “alcohol abuse is bad for you.” But exactly what is alcohol abuse? Where’s the line between responsible drinking and alcohol abuse? What constitutes addiction? Below, we’ll outline the answers to these questions, explain the top 5 signs of a drinking problem, and let you know how you can get help if you’ve been struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
The questions, “What is alcohol abuse, and what constitutes it?” are more common than you may think. After all, many legal adults who are not addicted to alcohol in clinical terms have drunk to excess before. Perhaps they’ve even gotten sick from drinking too much a few times, so are they abusing alcohol? Are they addicts?
In general, “alcohol abuse” as a term is not technically the same as alcoholism or alcohol addiction. It refers to a pattern of drinking too much alcohol on a consistent basis. According to national health guidelines, women should drink a maximum of one drink per day, and men should drink a maximum of two drinks per day. At this rate and following these guidelines, someone would be partaking in what is called “low-risk drinking.”
What Is Alcoholism?
“Alcoholism” is a rather ubiquitous word too. In general, it applies to full-fledged addiction to alcohol. It surpasses alcohol abuse because the effects of alcohol on the body are worse, and furthermore, it usually indicates that an individual has become dependent on alcohol. In other words, if they were to stop drinking abruptly, they would experience physical withdrawal symptoms.
The Top 5 Signs of a Drinking Problem
- Obvious drinking to excess
You’ll see someone struggling with alcoholism either drinking or drunk several times throughout the week. They’ll find excuses to drink and commonly drink to excess instead of having “one or two.”
- Drinking alone or hiding alcohol
Most alcoholics often drink alone and may try to hide their alcohol from others.
- A lack of interest in past activities and hobbies
Those struggling with any substance abuse problem spend most of their time seeking out, using, or recovering from drugs or alcohol, which means other interests go by the wayside.
- Mood swings
Alcohol strongly affects your emotions and feelings, so alcoholics often go through wild mood swings.
- A lack of responsibility
For most people struggling with alcoholism, it’s difficult to hold down a job, keep relationships intact, and remember to follow through on responsibilities.
What About the High Functioning Alcoholic?
A high functioning alcoholic is an alcoholic who is able to continue on with a semi-normal life, despite struggling with alcoholism. This person will appear put together and emotionally and physically healthy on the outside, but on the inside, they are in emotional turmoil and struggling with a serious disease.
It can be difficult to spot someone who is struggling with alcohol when they appear to be fine. But most of the time, sooner or later, cracks start to appear. And this is when the high functioning alcoholic needs support and assistance from their loved ones the most.
Better Addiction Care Can Help
If you have any additional questions related to “What is alcohol abuse?” call Better Addiction Care today. We can answer all of the questions you have about alcoholism and drug abuse, and direct you to your nearest treatment center for help. Call today at 1.800.429.7690.