Some people believe that alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are the same things. You may have even heard the terms used interchangeably which only helped to create more confusion. It’s important to understand that while they center around the same subjects and habits they are two different behaviors. Understanding these differences can help you to know what type of problem you are facing and how to best address it.
When looking at the defining problems surrounding alcohol abuse you are looking at behaviors such as driving while drunk, binge drinking and forgoing social events and activities to drinking. You can know that you or someone you know is involved in alcohol abuse when drinking begins to have negative consequences. This means that drinking is interfering with everyday activities like school, work, and social events, It can also lead to reckless behaviors that if not curbed can lead to full-on alcohol addition (although it does not always lead to addiction). Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are separated by a thin wall. Alcohol addiction is centered around a person’s inability to quit drinking despite the negative effects they are facing. This can manifest into alcohol craving, continued use despite physical consequence as well as continued use that leads to psychological and social issues. It also means an inability to stop drinking once you have begun and going beyond your own drinking limits or tolerance. When you are addicted to alcohol you will notice you need more of a substance to achieve the same feelings and may experience withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t drinking These symptoms can attribute to physical dependence.
Alcohol dependence is the physical dependence that a person is subject to. This means your tolerance to alcohol and withdrawal symptoms are heavily affected. These withdrawal issues can be very serious, even life-threatening. These symptoms can be seen by anxiety, shaking and even seizures. Some people will experience delirium tremens which can cause rapid heartbeat, confusion and fever can last for weeks. For those alcohol-dependent persons who are chronic drinkers, withdrawal is not as simple as quitting cold turkey. It should be monitored by a health professional so as to better address any symptoms that may crop up.
It is also pertinent to understand that addiction and dependence are not mutually exclusive and can occur without one another. A person doesn’t have to be physically dependent on alcohol or drugs to have an addiction. This happens when the addiction is of a psychological nature wherein the body doesn’t need the substance but the brain is convinced that it does. Dependence can also occur without an addiction present. This can be seen in examples of when a person develops a tolerance but not the cravings that are associated with your usual symptoms of addiction. If you are struggling with dependence or addiction to alcohol and wish to seek the treatment you can get in touch with the staff at Iris Healing Retreats. Choosing a holistic approach to your recovery can provide the effective measures you need to recover and remain well.