With alcohol abuse becoming more common in American society, there will soon be a corresponding rise in alcoholism as well. While many people think that these two conditions are the same, there is a distinct difference between them. Alcohol abuse simply means that a person abuses alcohol, and that alcohol use may cause problems in their life. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a physical dependence on alcohol that causes health or other physical issues. A person suffering from alcoholism will keep drinking despite the physical harm that is being done to their body. As alcohol abuse progresses, though, it can quickly turn from a psychological addiction to a physical one, making it that much more difficult to control alcohol consumption.
Many people drink more alcohol than they should, but are still unable or unwilling to admit that they have a problem with alcohol consumption. If they are confronted with the symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, though, they may find their addiction more difficult to deny. Some of these symptoms are attempting to hide the amount that they drink, or becoming upset when someone asks about their drinking. They may also become angry, aggressive, or violent when they drink, and they continue using alcohol even after they or others around them have suffered due to their use. An alcoholic may also fail to be attentive to their own nutritional needs, and may stop caring about their appearance or cleanliness. In the case of actual alcoholism, they will suffer from physical withdrawals, such as tremors and hallucinations when they haven't had alcohol for a time.
There are many different treatment methods to help people to stop abusing alcohol. Of course, it is more difficult when the person in question has a physical addiction. The first step to treating alcoholism or alcohol abuse is for the person in question to recognize that they are exhibiting the symptoms of alcoholism. After that, they need to try to find a good support network and find a safe place to go through alcohol withdrawals. This place should be somewhere that they have clinical supervision, as alcohol withdrawals can be extremely dangerous, to the point of being life threatening. After this, it is up to the recovering alcoholic and their support system to avoid future relapses. Just as stopping or moderating alcohol consumption can be difficult in the first place, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also be hard.
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