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Difference Between Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism vs Alcohol Abuse

Every morning on my way to work, I always pass a man lying on the sidewalk with an empty bottle of whisky by his side. In the afternoon on my way home I sometimes see him sitting on the same sidewalk holding a half full bottle.

Asking around, I learned that he was once a soldier but was discharge because he started abusing alcohol, becoming unruly when drunk. His family has taken him to a rehabilitation center but a few weeks after his release, he is back drinking. He just cannot get over his alcoholism.

He got me interested in how and why people resort to alcohol abuse and here are some of the things that I have learned about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.


Alcoholism is the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. It is an addictive disorder wherein an alcohol dependent person consumes alcohol despite all its negative effects on his physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

Its symptoms include a strong need to drink so an alcohol dependent person will only join a party if there are alcoholic drinks and he will most likely hang out with people who are also alcohol dependent. In time he will develop an alcohol tolerance and will need more and more drinks to become really intoxicated.

One other significant thing that you will notice in alcoholism is that alcohol dependents will only drink one type of alcoholic beverage and going without alcohol even for a short period of time will make him experience withdrawal symptoms so he will continuously drink in order to stop it.

In order to solve his alcoholism, the alcohol dependent person will need the help of professional counselors, detoxification, medical treatment, and rehabilitation. He cannot do it alone because the urge to drink will always be greater than his will to stop.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is the harmful use of alcohol. It is the use of alcohol in order to enjoy one�s self even if it will lead to social, personal, and even legal problems. It can harm a person�s physical and mental health and will eventually lead towards alcohol dependence.

If you get really drunk on certain occasions and binge drink, you are abusing alcohol. Although not all alcohol abusers become alcohol dependents, it is very harmful to a person�s physical, mental, and emotional health. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of accidents and deaths.

Like alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse can be treated with counseling and rehabilitation. If a person suffers from depression; he is likely to resort to alcohol abuse. This will lead to problems at home, at work, or with personal relationships.


1. Alcoholism is the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol while alcohol abuse is the harmful use of alcohol.
2. Alcohol dependents will usually drink only one type of drink while alcohol abusers will drink anything.
3. While both alcoholism and alcohol abuse have the same symptoms and treatments, alcoholism is more severe.
4. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism; therefore alcoholism is the result of alcohol abuse.
5. They are both dangerous to one�s overall wellbeing and health but alcohol abusers are easier to treat if they are still in the early stage

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