The term alcohol abuse can be applied to any dangerous or harmful use of alcohol. An alcoholic will drink despite the frequent financial, legal, social or relationship problems their drinking causes. Continued abuse of alcohol, alcoholism, can sometimes lead to dependence.
Alcoholics also use alcohol in a risky way and exhibit additional symptoms such as a high tolerance for alcohol, a compulsion to drink, the inability to follow through on plans to quit or cut back on drinking, withdrawal symptoms and drinking to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. People who are alcohol dependent are also referred to as alcoholics.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease and often requires medical treatment. However, both alcoholics and those who are addicted to alcohol or alcohol dependent can benefit from treatment by a qualified mental health professional.
Causes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence
Addictions can form for many reasons. Some substances (drugs, alcohol and nicotine) affect the way you feel physically and mentally. When you gain enjoyment from these feelings it can create a strong desire to use the substances again. Other types of addiction can form from mental “euphoria” related to the activity such as winning in gambling or stealing. This mental “high” causes a strong urge to repeat the activity and experience the same feeling again. In both situations the desire to repeat an activity can become a habit. When a habit forms it can become incredibly hard to stop which can leads to addiction.
Another aspect of having an addiction is that stopping or quitting the habit can cause withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be physically and mentally unpleasant which makes continuing the habit and giving in to your craving seem easier.
How addictions affect you
Attempting to manage an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. With addictions relating to substance misuse the addiction may have serious psychological and physical effects on the person addicted. Often an addict uses their addiction as a shield against difficult issues or emotions. Various factors can trigger addictions such as emotional or professional pressure, unemployment and poverty.