When comparing heavy drinking versus alcoholism, is one worse than the other?
Does heavy drinking and alcoholism mean the same thing? Is there a correlation between the two and if one drinks heavily, does it mean they are alcoholic? These are common questions often asked when one is concerned about heavy drinking and alcoholism.
Heavy drinking and/or binge drinking can warrant signs of an alcohol problem, but alcoholism goes much deeper than many believe. The difference between heavy drinking versus alcoholism can be better understood by identifying some of characteristics of alcoholism.
One may be alcoholic if:
- There is a desire to stop drinking, but one cannot.
- They experience alcohol cravings or have a consistent preoccupation with drinking.
- Excessive time using alcohol and/or recovering from its effects is present.
- Over time one needs to drink more alcohol in order to feel the same effects.
- Stopping or cutting back on drinking results in withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea, trembling, vomiting and in extreme cases seizures and hallucination.
Alcoholism is a progressive, sometimes slow growing disease in which over time and without recovery will get worse. Heavy drinking for a period of time can be the precursor to alcoholism, especially if there is a predisposition to the disease. With no predisposition to the disease of alcoholism, understand that heavy drinking can lead to health problems, dangerous situations, and fatalities.
There’s a fine line comparing heavy drinking versus alcoholism, and it can be a delicate subject if one is concerned with another’s drinking. If you or a loved one is heavily drinking, there may be a serious underlying alcohol problem. Know you’re not alone and help is within your reach. Ask for help by contacting your physician, therapist or local Alcoholics Anonymous office.
If you or someone you love may be suffering from alcoholism, please contact us at (888) 989-9690. Most insurance accepted – Call today!
Alcohol Use Disorder | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (n.d.). Retrieved August, 2016.