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Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What's the Difference?

April 6, 2018

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and at CADS, we take this opportunity to focus on increasing awareness and understanding of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Alcohol is widely consumed in our country and this time of year marks the beginning of longer days, backyard barbeques, and sunshine.

We want you to be armed with the knowledge and courage to help your loved one, if you feel he or she may be struggling with alcohol dependence, so you both can enjoy the promises of springtime in the Midwest. 

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Alcoholism is a chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.”

Like with other addictions, this means that alcohol, and the urge to drink it, interferes with a person’s daily life, compromises his health, and can lead to fatal consequences.

The main difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse is the severity of the disorder. If left unaddressed, alcohol abuse may lead to alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse is defined by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as, “A chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”

We challenge you this month to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. If you think a loved one may be struggling with problem drinking, here are some indicators you may be correct:

  • Neglecting major responsibilities at work, or home, to drink
  • Drinking in hazardous situations, such as driving while intoxicated
  • Drinking that leads to recurrent legal problems, such as arrests for disorderly conduct
  • Continued drinking even when it leads to recurrent social problems--for example, violent arguments

At CADS, we want to help anyone who is dependent on alcohol. If you’re not ready to come see us quite yet, take our online assessment and read our blog about what you can expect at CADS.

April is a month of renewal and fresh air. We want you to be healthy and focused this spring so you and your loved ones can enjoy every second of it. If you’re not quite sure how to start the conversation, give us a call at 563-326-1150. We’d love to talk with you.

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