What is Alcohol Addiction and Abuse?


Alcoholism is a condition that affects a person’s behavior as well as the physical structure and function of their brain. It is considered by addiction experts and medical personnel alike to be a chronic disease.

However, in spite of the millions of people nationwide who suffer from alcohol alcoholism, many people believe that overcoming alcoholism does not require treatment. This common misconception leads many people suffering from the disease down a disastrous path of constant remission and relapse which is not only damaging to their physical health and mental health.

Abuse vs. Addiction

Alcohol abuse and addiction are not the same thing. Those who abuse this substance are able to maintain some control over their drinking, while people who are addicted to alcohol have lost all control over the amount and frequency of their drinking.

Alcohol abuse is typically characterized by binge drinking, which is drinking more than the body can handle at one time.  Addiction, on the other hand, is marked by changes in the structures and functioning of the brain. Those who are addicted to alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, and they'll likely find that willpower alone isn't enough to quit.

What is the Treatment?

Treating an alcohol addiction begins with medical detox, which breaks the physical addiction. During medical detox, drugs may be administered as needed to address uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

After the physical addiction is broken, the psychological aspects of the addiction are addressed through family, group, and individual therapies that equip patients with skills and techniques for coping with stress, cravings, and triggers and increase their level of self-awareness surrounding the addiction and its various underlying and contributing issues.

After Treatment Care

After treatment, an individualized aftercare plan is set in motion to help patients transition back into the community and promote long-term recovery by helping to prevent relapse. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy, participation in a 12-Step or alternative recovery group, and ongoing monitoring of any co-occurring mental illnesses.