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Alcohol Abuse

Defining alcohol abuse can be a tricky thing. Most individuals are looking for a very straight forward definition. They would like to be able to equate a certain number of drinks consumed daily, with alcoholism. However, this doesn’t always provide a good or accurate picture of whether or not someone is an alcoholic. Depending on whom you ask and what you read, the definition of alcohol abuse may differ.  For our purposes we will define it as a combination of a number of factors including tolerance, craving, physical dependence and loss of control.


A person that has been abusing alcohol will build up a tolerance to it physically. Therefore, they will require more drinks to get the same high that they experienced in the past. 


A craving is simply a strong desire to drink. When a person has become physically dependent on alcohol they will experience physical or emotional symptoms when they stop drinking. Some common physical ones include anxiety, nausea, the shakes and excessive sweating. Loss of control means that an individual has a difficult time stopping drinking once they get started.


Now it is important to note that there is the difference between alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse.  Abuse may simply mean drinking too much or to excess but a person may not be addicted. However, they might.


Alcohol abuse, if not treated can easily turn into alcohol addiction which is considered a disease.  Persons who become alcoholics will crave alcohol as much as they do water and food.  They will drink despite the consequences and in spite of loves ones begging them not to. Alcohol abuse can run in families. Individuals may have seen their parents or a loved one consume high amounts of alcohol and then begin to imitate that behavior either as a youngster or as an adult. They may also inherit genes that make them more susceptible to alcohol abuse.


However, it is important for people to recognize that just because they may have inherited genes that increase their chances of abusing alcohol or addiction, does not mean that they have to become an alcoholic or stay one. There are many good alcohol rehab programs that will help persons overcome their addiction to alcohol or alcohol abuse. After that point, it will be necessary for them to make efforts to maintain their sobriety. Millions of people have done it and will do it in the future.


Often times, alcohol rehabilitation will include some type of counseling so that individuals can uncover the underlying issues for their drinking problems and come up with ways to decrease the likelihood that they will fall into previous traps or respond to triggers the same way that they had in the past with alcohol.


Alcohol abuse needs to be treated as soon as possible. Immediate treatment will save an individual, months or even years of pain (as well as their loved ones) and will decrease the physical damage done to the body. Therefore, the best time to get help is today.

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