There is a point along the road toward alcoholism where an individual can turn back and prevent the onset of disease. However, individuals must have an awareness of the signs of problem drinking, a willingness to change some habits, and even an openness to the possibility of obtaining treatment to help them overcome their problematic drinking.

For alcoholics, disease management becomes vital for protecting health and other important aspects of one’s life. The following information discusses the similarities and differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Problem Drinking

Problem drinking is drinking in a manner that has a negative impact on your life. To be clear, a single episode of binge drinking can be problem drinking. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to suffer from alcohol blood poisoning, a condition that can lead to death. On the other hand, binge drinking every weekend also constitutes problematic drinking.

Drinking too much or drinking to the point of blacking out not only has an adverse impact on an individuals health, but can also affect a person’s life in other negative ways, such as causing them to miss work, interfering with relationships, and affecting studies. Notably, addiction specialists assert that problem drinking is not addiction because dependence has not occurred.

Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic disease fueled by a powerful feeling of compulsion as well as physical, mental, and behavioral dependencies. Anyone can become an alcoholic, but there are risk factors associated with this disease. Risk factors include growing up with someone suffering from substance addiction, poverty, and even genetics. A marker for alcoholism is the presence of withdrawal symptoms if a drink is not had within a relatively short period of time.

Signs of alcoholism include Struggling to stop drinking once you’ve started, blacking out or experiencing short-term memory loss regularly, drinking in secret, drinking before or during work, and trying unsuccessfully to quit. There isn’t a cure for alcoholism, but an individual can manage the disease with abstinence.

Preventing Alcoholism

If you increasingly turn to alcohol to de-stress or alleviate negative emotions, you are engaging in a problematic behavior that can lead to alcoholism. Engaging in high-risk behaviors like driving having unprotected sex while inebriated also indicates a drinking problem.

It’s essential to control this problem while you still can and without the added burden of actual dependence – doing so can prevent problematic drinking from truly taking a toll on important aspects of your life or turning into alcoholism.

You may need to pull away from your current social situation or find a support group to help you find alternative ways to unwind or have fun. You may need to speak with a therapist or counselor if your drinking has become a serious problem in your life. Today’s rehab centers work with both problem drinkers and alcoholics to help them cope with the triggers that lead them to use alcohol in problematic ways.

If you are concerned about your drinking or suspect that you are dependent physically or mentally (or both) on alcohol, visit an addiction treatment center to be evaluated. Addiction specialists there can recommend treatments, therapies, or activities that can help you manage your problem and safeguard your health and well-being.