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Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: What Are the Differences?

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Alcohol affects people in different ways. Some people can enjoy a glass of wine with food and drink moderate amounts of alcohol in social settings without any problems. Having one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men is considered moderate drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source.

Drinking alcohol too much or too often, or being unable to control alcohol consumption, can be a sign of a larger problem. Two different issues that some people can develop are alcohol abuse or alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependency.

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are marked differences. People who abuse alcohol drink too much on occasion and their drinking habits often result in risky behavior and poor judgment. But alcohol abusers generally aren’t dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism, on the other hand, means a person needs alcohol to get through their day.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that about 18 million people in the United States struggle with alcohol use disorders. These disorders can be disruptive and life-threatening.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can cause serious health conditions. Alcohol worsens certain disorders, such as osteoporosis. It can lead to certain cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes it difficult to diagnose other health issues, such as heart disease. This is due to the way alcohol affects the circulatory system.

Image from health line.

For some people, alcohol abuse and alcoholism results from psychological or social factors. They may drink to calm down or loosen up in social settings. Others use alcohol to cope with psychological issues or stress in their daily lives.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism may also run in families. However, genetics doesn’t guarantee a problem with alcohol. The exact causes of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are often unknown.

Alcohol abuse is more common at certain points in life. Males, college students, and people going through serious life events or trauma are more likely to abuse alcohol.

People who experience the following are also more likely to deal with their problems with alcohol:

  • depression

  • loneliness

  • emotional stress

  • boredom

This is dangerous because alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism. This is because alcohol tolerance levels can gradually increase. Some people start to drink more and more with each passing day.

Image from pixabay.
  • According to a recent study by a group of scientists at Oxford University in England, there’s no safe dose for alcohol consumption.

  • Should everyone really completely give up drinking to stay healthy?

  • We asked experts for their take on an occasional drink.

Is alcohol good for you or bad? Does it depend on the quantity?

According to a recent study by a group of scientists at Oxford University in England, there’s no safe dose for alcohol consumption.

The observational study looked at data from more than 25,000 middle-aged adults. The study found that moderate consumption is more closely associated with adverse effects on the brain than was previously known. They found that alcohol was negatively associated with global brain gray matter volume. Also, individuals with comorbidities like high blood pressure and a high BMI, or those who binge drink, may be more susceptible to these adverse effects.

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