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Therapist Judith Marayelle Discusses the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction

Judith Marayelle on the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction

MINNETONKA, MN, UNITED STATES , October 14, 2020 / -- “People often use the terms ‘alcoholism’ and ‘alcohol abuse’ interchangeably,” says licensed therapist Judith Marayelle. “And while there are certainly similarities, the diagnosis and the recommended treatments are quite different.”
Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism indicate a serious problem with drinking and the negative impacts that mass quantities of alcohol can have on your day-to-day life and emotional, physical, and mental health. But there are subtle differences between the two conditions. “Familiarizing yourself with the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism can help you get a better grasp on your own relationship with alcohol,” says Judith Marayelle.

Judith Marayelle Defines Alcohol Abuse

According to the American Psychological Association, “alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in significant and recurrent adverse consequences.”

“People with an alcohol abuse problem may have trouble holding down a regular job, maintaining relationships, or have multiple DWIs as a result of their heavy drinking,” says Judith Marayelle. “When they continue to drink despite these consequences, this can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues.”

But Judith Marayelle warns that you can still be abusing alcohol even if you are not experiencing these kinds of consequences. “You don’t have to drink every day to have a problem with alcohol abuse. Although most alcohol abusers are consistently heavy drinkers, it can also present itself as occasional binge drinking.”

Heavy drinking is defined as 15 drinks or more per week for men and 8 drinks or more per week for women. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five drinks or more in two hours for men and four drinks or more in two hours for women.

“But no matter how often you drink, if your alcohol consumption has negatively affected your life, you may have a problem with alcohol abuse. If you are concerned, contact a therapist and discuss possible strategies for mitigating your unhealthy relationship with alcohol,” urges Judith Marayelle.

What is Alcoholism? Judith Marayelle Explains

“Alcoholism is a chronic disease,” says Judith Marayelle. “It is a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol.”

Unlike the alcohol abuser, who can stop if they absolutely must, an alcoholic will experience physical withdrawals if they don’t get enough to drink.

The signs of alcoholism include:

Increasing tolerance - needing more and more alcohol to feel drunk
Withdrawal - you feel physically ill if you don’t drink alcohol for a certain period of time
Compulsion - whether or not you want to, you are drawn to drinking and cannot stop once you start

“While alcohol abuse is less severe than alcoholism, it can be a precursor to developing the disease. Those with an alcohol abuse problem are much more likely to become alcoholics,” says Judith Marayelle.

Caroline Hunter
Web Presence, LLC
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