Did you know that you – or a loved one – does not have to drink all day to suffer from alcohol abuse or to have an alcohol addiction? In fact, you do not even need to drink every day or in extreme amounts to develop alcoholism or to have a problem with alcohol for which you should seek help.
What is the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction?
It is ultimately a matter of degree. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is the most severe form of problem drinking. An addiction to alcohol can develop suddenly after a stressful event, or gradually over many years.
If you abuse alcohol, you still have some ability to control or limit your drinking. However, alcohol abuse can also be self-destructive and dangerous – to you and those around you. Further, it is a high risk factor for eventually developing an addiction to alcohol. Even if you are not (yet) addicted to alcohol, it may be just as essential to seek help for alcohol abuse as for alcoholism.
What are the signs of alcoholism?
“I knew I couldn't stop, I couldn't cut down. I could only drink more - and I wanted more… Towards the end of my addiction, I started drinking as soon as I woke up. Then I felt better, and I just kept drinking - until I fell asleep again. That's what my days were like. I was mainly planning, and getting up the courage to get myself some more booze…” Ted
One of the main signs of alcoholism is that you continue to drink even though your drinking is causing increasing problems to all aspects of your life. Typical symptoms of alcoholism are:
- You cannot stop drinking when you try.
- You develop withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking.
- You have cravings for alcoholic drinks.
- You cannot control how much you drink.
- You have to drink more to get the effect you want.
- You spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
- You don’t manage to do what you should at work, at home or for your studies because of your drinking.
- You drink again and again, even when it puts you or others in danger.
What are the effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse?
“You're focused entirely on yourself. All your relationships fail… You see your career getting bogged down. Physically, you're not in great shape either… Anyway, you notice all of these things… your disconnectedness from your passion, basically. That's a very serious thing. And your instrument shows this very clearly. Your skill on the instrument is an enormously strong indicator.” Ben, musician
The harmful use of alcohol can have a serious impact on your career, finances, relationships and your health. Long-term heavy drinking can lead to alcoholism, which is a chronic disease, liver cirrhosis, some cancers and heart disease.
“I've really hurt people. Certainly when I was drinking my mood could become aggressive. Then I did the most terrible things. Even today, I still blush with shame when I think about it. It makes me wonder. What... What kind of devil did you have inside?” Toos
Of course alcoholism and alcohol abuse also put an enormous strain on family, friends and colleagues, and ultimately have an impact on society. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to injuries from violence and road accidents. Most countries in Europe have adopted policies, strategies and plans to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Do I drink too much alcohol?
Take our alcohol self-test to find out more about the signs of alcoholism and whether you need to cut down, or stop altogether. Find out how Triora can help you to stop drinking alcohol and overcome problem drinking.