Problem Drinking Vs Alcoholism

Drinking Problem: Alcoholics are addicted to alcohol. They are physically and mentally dependent on it. Alcoholics find it hard not to drink and struggle with dependency every day. Alcoholics can achieve sobriety, but they will always be an alcoholic and at risk for relapse. They will often relapse after just one drink, no matter how long they have been sober.

Problem drinkers are not physically dependent on alcohol. They can go days, weeks, or months without drinking if they want to. If they abstain, they will not have detox symptoms. They may drink a lot, or they may drink occasionally. The issue problem drinkers have is that when they do drink, it causes an issue in their life or in the life of someone they know. They may say and do things that hurt others or themselves. Drinking is not a problem for these individuals, but it does create problems in their lives.

Problem Drinking Vs. Alcoholism

Drinking Problem Song

It’s not always easy to tell when your alcohol intake has crossed the line from moderate or social drinking to problem drinking. Drinking is so common in many cultures and the effects vary so widely from person to person, it’s not always easy to figure out if you have a drinking problem. But if you consume alcohol to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, you’re in potentially dangerous territory.

You may have a drinking problem if you:

  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking.
  • Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
  • We need to drink in order to relax or feel better.
  • “Blackout” or forget what you did while you were drinking.
  • Regularly drink more than you intended to.

The bottom line is how alcohol affects you. If your drinking is causing problems in your life, then you have a drinking problem.

Drinking problems can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism and take steps to cut back if you recognize them. Understanding the problem is the first step to overcoming it and either cutting back to healthy levels or quitting altogether.

If you ever needed help in your recovery, you can check your local rehab to know the benefits of men’s rehab.

Risk factors for drinking problems and alcoholism

Risk factors for developing problems with alcohol arise from many interconnected factors, including your genetics, how you were raised, your social environment, and your emotional health. Some racial groups, such as American Indians and Native Alaskans, are more at risk than others for developing drinking problems or alcohol addiction. People who have a family history of alcoholism or who associate closely with heavy drinkers are more likely to develop drinking problems. Finally, those who suffer from a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder are also particularly at risk, because alcohol is often used to self-medicate.

The path from alcohol abuse to alcoholism

Not all alcohol abusers become full-blown alcoholics, but it is a big risk factor. Sometimes alcoholism develops suddenly in response to a stressful change, such as a breakup, retirement, or another loss. Other times, it gradually creeps up on you as your tolerance to alcohol increases. If you’re a binge drinker or you drink every day, the risks of developing alcoholism are greater.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse or problem drinking

Substance abuse experts make a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcoholism (also called alcohol dependence). Unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking. However, their alcohol use is still self-destructive and dangerous to themselves or others.

Common signs and symptoms include:

Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking. For example, performing poorly at work, flunking classes, neglecting your kids, or skipping out on commitments because you’re hungover.

Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.

Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.

Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships. Getting drunk with your buddies, for example, even though you know your wife will be very upset or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink.

Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress. Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress. Getting drunk after every stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle every time you have an argument with your spouse or boss.

Drinking Problem Lyrics

Drinking Problem Lyrics

When we talk about someone having an alcohol problem, it does not necessarily mean that they are an alcoholic. Problems with alcohol can range from occasionally drinking at harmful levels to full-blown alcoholism, or alcohol dependence.

Not everyone who has an alcohol use disorder is an alcoholic, and not everyone who could benefit from treatment is an alcoholic. You don’t have to exhibit all of the symptoms to have a drinking problem.

Under the diagnosis guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, there are 11 symptoms of alcohol use disorders. If someone displays only 2-3 of these symptoms they can be diagnosed with a mild alcohol use disorder.

Drinkers who exhibit 4-5 of the symptoms are considered to have a moderate alcohol use disorder, and those with 6 or more symptoms, are diagnosed with a severe alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol Abuse and Dependence

The designation of mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorders is the terminology used in official medical diagnoses. The three main types of alcohol problems are probably more commonly described as:

  • Binge drinking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcohol dependence (alcoholism)

Binge Drinking

One of the most common alcohol problems is binge drinking, which is simply drinking a harmful amount of alcohol in any one drinking session. Binge drinking is officially defined as drinking 5 or more standard drinks at one sitting for males (4 for females).

Why is drinking 5 or more drinks considered a problem? Scientific research has shown that alcohol consumption at that level can do real harm to your health. There are many different ways that binge drinking can cause serious health problems.

Therefore, by definition, if you engage in binge drinking, even occasionally, you have an alcohol problem. You may not have a severe problem, or be an alcoholic, but your drinking is considered hazardous.

College Binge Drinking

The greatest amount of research into binge drinking has revolved around the drinking habits on college campuses, where it is a common practice among 18-21-year-olds. Research shows that students who binge drink are:

  • More likely to damage property
  • Have problems with law enforcement
  • Miss more classes
  • Experience more hangovers
  • Become injured

Research also indicates that students on campuses with higher binge drinking rates experience more physical assaults and unwanted sexual advances.

Types of Binge Drinkers

But, college students are not the only binge drinkers around. British researchers have identified 9 types of binge drinkers, who drink at least twice the recommended daily amounts of alcohol for a variety of reasons.

Alcohol Abuse

Going out with friends and having a few too many on occasion is an alcohol problem, but it is very common among young people. When those drinking bouts begin to cause you real problems in your life, and you continue to drink in spite of the negative consequences, it is when your drinking becomes alcohol abuse.

It is considered alcohol abuse if you continue to drink in spite of:

  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Neglect of your responsibilities
  • The trouble with the law
  • Drinking while driving

If your drinking has caused you problems in other areas of your life—social, legal or personal problems—and you continue to drink despite those reoccurring problems, then your level of alcohol consumption has become abusive.

Because alcoholism is considered a progressive disease, if you do not get help for your alcohol problem at this stage, you could be headed for much more severe problems.

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence very quickly and usually does so along a predictable path. Not only do you continue to drink despite growing problems in your life, but continue after your alcohol consumption begins to affect you physically.

People who are alcohol dependent:

  • Continue to drink despite physical or psychological problems
  • Begin to crave alcohol when not drinking
  • Develop a tolerance for the effects of alcohol
  • Have withdrawal symptoms when not drinking

Once someone reaches the alcohol-dependent—or severe alcohol use disorder—stage, it is much more difficult for them to try to get and stay sober, because they have developed a physical addiction to and psychological dependence upon alcohol.

In short, they have become alcoholics. It is much easier to quit drinking before reaching the alcohol dependence stage, but unfortunately, many drinkers do not reach out for help until their drinking causes them overwhelming negative consequences, a phenomenon known as hitting bottom.

People Say I Got A Drinking Problem

A problem drinker may need alcohol to achieve a desired state of mind. For example:

  • You may need alcohol to feel comfortable in social situations.
  • You may need alcohol to make you feel good about yourself.
  • You may need alcohol to feel happy.
  • You may need alcohol to have a good time.
  • You may need alcohol to escape from your problems or worries.
  • You may need alcohol to feel important and inflate your ego.

Additionally, problem drinkers may be defensive if their relationship with alcohol is questioned. For example, if a friend or a family member tells them that they drink too much, that they should drink less, or that alcohol makes them act differently, they will get angry. They may subconsciously know that they have a problem and therefore feel guilty or become depressed after they drink.

An unhealthy relationship with alcohol can ruin a person’s relationship with relatives, friends, and coworkers. Problem drinkers may immediately avoid any discussions or lectures about their drinking. Even though a friend or a family member may be trying to help the problem drinkers, they may simply think the person is being nosy or bossy. Trying to discuss the situation too much may even cause the problem drinker to avoid you, so seeking professional advice is important.

If you think you may have a drinking problem or have a loved one who exhibits problem drinker signs, you need to seek help immediately. Call our free national referral service to discuss your options for problem drinking or alcoholism today. Our free helpline is confidential, secure, and available 24 hours a day.

Drinking Problem Chords

Drinking can be safe when done in moderation and in responsible situations, but drinking without regard to the consequences can signify problematic drinking behaviors.

  • Drinking alcohol before driving is one major indication that your drinking habits have become dangerous, as you put yourself and others at risk when driving impaired.
  • Drinking heavily on a Sunday night or weeknight before you have to work the next day is one common sign that your drinking has become troublesome.
  • Additionally, if you have a physical or mental health problem that you know is exacerbated by alcohol use, yet you continue to drink anyway, you may be dependent on alcohol and should seek rehabilitation before experiencing further negative ramifications.
  • Finally, if your drinking is interfering with your work, relationships, hobbies, or is clashing with your values, yet you continue to drink, you should begin to evaluate the pros and cons of continuing to engage in this type of behavior.

Airplane Drinking Problem

You may have heard of the term problem drinking and wondered what exactly makes it different from alcoholism. How do you know if you’re a problem drinker or an alcoholic? What’s the difference?

The short answer is yes, there is a major difference between the two. Problem drinking is using alcohol in a way that can negatively impact your health and your life, but the body is not physically dependent on the substance. Alcoholism, on the other hand, most likely includes the physical addiction to alcohol in addition to the problems it may cause your health and your life.

For instance, a person may be a problem drinker if alcohol causes them to routinely miss work or school, but they can go days, weeks, or months without drinking. An alcoholic usually cannot go a long period of time without needing to drink alcohol.

  • Makes you miss important functions like class or work.
  • Causes you to avoid family or friends and become isolated.
  • It makes you feel depressed, angry, or violent.
  • Causes you to spend money you don’t have and creates financial troubles.
  • Disrupts your relationships with family and friends.
  • It causes you to make unsafe decisions, such as partaking in unsafe sexual relations with someone you don’t know.
  • It causes you to do something illegal and/or get arrested due to your behavior.
  • Causes you to drive under the influence.

One of the differentiators between problem drinking and alcoholism is the physical dependency. If you can go long periods of time without the need for alcohol, you may not be an alcoholic. However, problem drinking has the capability to turn into alcoholism over time. If you think your drinking is out of control, it’s important to seek help before it gets worse.

There is no question that problem drinking and alcoholism can create negative consequences that disrupt your life. Don’t wait for it to get worse. Seek the alcoholism treatment you need to get back on track towards health today.

What is a drinking problem?

Problem drinkers are not physically dependent on alcohol. They can go days, weeks, or months without drinking if they want to. If they abstain, they will not have detox symptoms. They may drink a lot, or they may drink occasionally.

What is a heavy drinker?

Definition of heavy drinking varies slightly and is different for men and women.  Heavy drinking is the third leading cause of preventable death.

What are some signs that a person may be a problem drinker?

Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse are:
  • Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss.
  • Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings.
  • Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress, or feel normal.
  • Choosing drinking over other responsibilities and obligations.

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