Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse is problem drinking that negatively impacts your life. For example, you may experience one or more of these issues due to alcohol abuse:
- Failure to accomplish your duties at home, school, or work
- Involvement in dangerous drinking situations (e.g., drinking and driving)
- Legal problems (e.g., being arrested for drinking and driving)
- Relationship difficulties
Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a problem pattern of drinking where you can have the same issues as alcohol abuse. Alcoholism also includes continued drinking even when there are clear problems related to alcohol that affect your physical and mental health. Relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers also suffer. Due to the more intense pattern of drinking, you may not be able to stop drinking once you start, have withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking, and develop a tolerance (meaning you need to keep drinking more to feel the same effect).
Last reviewedMarch 2013by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.