In 2018. the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that roughly 86% of people ages 18 and older drank alcohol at some point in there lives. Of the millions of Americans who drink, over 25% of them report that they regularly engage in binge drinking. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It is so common in American culture that many people do not think about how alcohol dependency affects the lives of everyone around the drinker. We hear a lot about the dangers of alcohol when we are young, but is alcoholism the same as alcohol addiction?
Alcoholism Vs. Alcohol Addiction
Alcoholism and addiction are often held in different categories. Alcoholism refers to the chemical dependency on alcohol whereas alcohol addiction indicates a chemical dependency on drug substances or other substances. However, in terms of neurobiology and how chemical dependency works in the brain, there is little to no difference between how drugs work and how alcohol works. Alcohol addiction is another way of saying alcoholism. People take the way they define themselves in recovery quite seriously.
In the community of twelve-step programs, for example, there is a difference in the way people introduce themselves at AA meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous, and NA meetings, Narcotics Anonymous. Most people in both programs have had problems with both drugs and alcohol. Yet, it is an unwritten faux pas to introduce yourself as an “addict” at an AA meeting and an “alcoholic” at an NA meeting. Describing abstinence in AA uses the term “sober” whereas describing abstinence in NA uses the term “clean”. Though both fellowships advocate abstinence from all mind-altering substances and use the same 12 steps, there is a cultural difference.
Types of Alcohol Use Disorders
If you are questioning whether alcoholism is the same as alcohol addiction, there is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction, or, alcoholism. Many people experience unhealthy relationships with alcohol during an abusive period in their lives and go to treatment. After examining why they have this unhealthy relationship with alcohol, they are able to return to a normal manner of drinking which does not include abuse. For those who become chemically dependent, on the other hand, there is no such thing is going back to a normal manner of drinking. The brain is programmed to recognize alcohol and crave more of it. Alcohol addiction is when the body and the brain are in need of consuming alcohol in order to function. Alcohol abuse includes high volumes of drinking which lead to negative consequences, but do not involve the symptoms of chemical dependency like alcohol cravings or withdrawals.
The hallmark difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that someone who has developed an abusive relationship with alcohol will be able to stop drinking on their own, if not with some difficulty. Someone who has developed a chemical addiction to alcohol cannot stop.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment Options at Oceanfront Recovery
Alcohol does not have to take over your life forever. Alcoholism is essentially the same as an alcohol addiction, and should be treated as seriously as any other addiction. At Oceanfront Recovery, we offer a number of programs to help overcome addiction once and for all. These programs include:
- Family Therapy Program
- EMDR Therapy Program
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program
- Aftercare Program
If you are having problems quitting alcohol, you are not alone. Oceanfront Recovery is a men’s’ treatment program offering a full continuum of residential care from detox to transitional living. Our intensive programs empower men in their self-efficacy and ability to live autonomously without alcohol dependence. For information, call us today at 877.296.7477