Social drinking is deeply ingrained into our culture, as well as many other cultures all over the world. It’s a normal thing to do with your friends and loved ones—sometimes, even with total strangers.
But because of how common it is, it becomes difficult to identify who’s abusing it, and who’s just having fun. The line between recreational drinking and alcohol abuse becomes blurred. And it becomes even more challenging to tell alcoholism and alcohol abuse apart. Where does abuse end and where does addiction begin?
On this article we will try to define what an alcoholic is. This way, we can gauge the situation of our loved ones, and even ourselves.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
A person who abuses alcohol is someone who displays only certain characteristics of an alcoholic, but is not yet dependent on it. They have a drinking problem, no doubt. But they have not yet completely lost their control. They can somewhat limit their consumption.
Moderate alcohol consumption should not cause major impact on the person’s mind or body. But social drinking can lead to heavier alcohol consumption—which can eventually lead to alcohol abuse, and even alcoholism.
With alcoholism comes serious health and psychological problems. So how do you know you’re already at that point?
What is an Alcoholic?
There are many ways to define alcoholism. We can say that it’s the term for long term addiction to alcohol. Therefore an alcoholic is simply someone who suffers from alcoholism. We can also say that it’s an illness or chronic disease wherein the person becomes obsessed with alcohol and cannot control how much they drink. But how do we know if someone is addicted?
Alcoholism is defined as a physical compulsion coupled with a mental obsession. This means that if the person thinks about drinking, then they must drink. This is a condition that compels a person to consume alcohol beyond their capacity to control it. An alcoholic will keep on drinking regardless of how it affects their life. They won’t stop even if they’re already affecting the lives of the people around them.
An alcoholic is prone to self-destructive behavior—and they normally wouldn’t be able to see it that way. In fact, the alcoholic is likely to be the last person to know that they are addicted to alcohol.
Alcohol use disorder is a disease, and the World Health Organization reports around 3.3 million deaths globally every year because of it. The National Institute of Health reports that 15.1 million adults in the US have a drinking problem.
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You’ll know that a person is an alcoholic if they cannot control how much they drink, and it’s beginning to cause them problems at home and at work. They will also drink alone or in secret—typically with no limit to how much alcohol they are drinking.
The alcoholic person may also drop their hobbies as well as other activities they used to enjoy. They may prioritize drinking over their other responsibilities.
How is Alcoholism Treated?
Alcoholism can be treated, given that the person exerts enough effort towards their own recovery. The first step is to acknowledge the alcohol dependency problem and realize that it needs to be fixed. The next thing to do is seek help.
There are many support groups and medical professionals who could help the person detoxify and get over their need for alcoholic drinks. They may go through counselling, medical detox, and residential programs to help them conquer their alcohol dependence.
Look for a rehab facility near you today and get started on the path towards recovery.