Amongst various substance abusers, alcohol abusers are the most challenging to identify, given the norm of consuming alcohol on a social basis. The signs vary; even the most frequent alcohol abusers can appear completely unaffected.
The Difference Between Abuse and Addiction
When it comes to alcohol abuse, let’s get one thing clear—it is not the same as alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction refers to psychologically and physically relying on alcohol, and continuing to do so, even once the problem becomes evident. It’s an adapted coping mechanism.
On the other hand, alcohol abusers are not necessarily addicted to the substance; they might drink once a week. But when they do, they take the consumption to a level of such excess that it puts them at risk of harming themselves or others.
Factors That Lead Up To It
It is unlikely that an individual crosses the limit just because “they feel like getting drunk”. More often than not, there are underlying factors that lead to abuse:
- Exposure to company of heavy drinkers– this eradicates the “too much to drink” limit as the abuse feels normal.
- Physical and mental health issues– pain, anxiety, depression, even bipolar disorder can lead to binge-drinking as a source of “medication”.
- Peer pressure– underage drinking includes “getting completely stoned” factor as a tool for popularity. Frequent underage alcohol abuse sets the risks of dependence later in life.
The problem with both addiction and abuse is that one road may lead to the other. Alcohol addicts can start abusing the drink once they gain a high tolerance to the drink. Likewise, alcohol abusers can develop the habit of frequent consumption.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse vary, depending on how often an individual suffers from alcohol abuse:
- Helplessness against drinking excessively – even despite being warned by people accompanying
- Unstable and violent behavior – alcohol abuse is often the cause behind unwarranted aggression and domestic abuse
- Lack of interest in extracurricular activities
- Poor performance at work
- Poor grades, higher absences in school – underage alcohol abuse leads to unresponsive and careless attitude towards studies
- Memory problems – not being able to recall one’s action under the influence of alcohol
Identifying a problem is the first step towards the road to recovery. There are a number of short-term and long-term options for individuals seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.
If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol abuse, contact us today to get professional help towards recovery. At Orange County Recovery, we have trained counselors and therapists to provide constructive advice and recommend necessary treatment options or rehab programs.
You are not alone; help and support are always available for you and your loved ones.