Problem Drinking vs. Alcoholism: What’s the Difference?

problem drinking vs alcoholism

Did you know that over 15 million Americans suffer from an addiction to alcohol?

If you also factor in the number of people who have alcohol use issues, this figure soars much higher. Lots of people have heard the term ‘problem drinker’ before. However, not many know the differences between problem drinking vs alcoholism.

How can you tell if you or someone you know has a drinking problem or an addiction? Keep reading to learn the facts.

What Is Problem Drinking Exactly?

Problem drinking occurs when someone abuses alcohol for the emotional benefits. People who have a social drinking problem feel like they need to drink around others to loosen up and have a good time. Another type of problem drinking is relying on alcohol to alleviate stress, sadness, or other negative emotions.

Problem drinking is a psychological dependency on alcohol where people drink to feel better.

What Are the Differences Between Problem Drinking Vs Alcoholism?

The major difference between problem drinkers and alcoholics is a physical dependency on alcohol. Problem drinkers may have strong cravings for a drink. Alcoholics will start to exhibit physical and psychological symptoms if they don’t have alcohol in their system.

Problem drinkers can go months without having a drink. Alcoholics can start feeling shaky, nauseous, agitated, and anxious within a couple of hours since their last drink.

What Are the Treatments for Problem Drinking and Alcoholism?

Problem drinkers have a much easier time getting sober because their bodies haven’t developed a physical dependency yet. This means that the only symptoms they may or may not experience are psychological. Problem drinkers who want to quit alcohol have to face the issues that make them want to drink in the first place, which can be challenging.

True alcoholics have developed a physical need for alcohol. This means detoxing can be an intense process that has both physical and psychological symptoms. Some alcoholics can get sober on their own, but detoxing in a drug rehab center can provide the best results.

Although problem drinkers can quit whenever they want to, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to temptations. Some problem drinkers can benefit from a long-term rehab program because they have to live in a clean environment with a structured daily schedule.

Which Treatment Is Right for You If You’re a Problem Drinker?

If you believe you’re a problem drinker and not an alcoholic, you can try to get sober on your own by cutting back over time or quitting cold turkey. However, if your cravings are too strong to overcome on your own, seeking professional care may be the best way to weaken your emotional dependency.

Are You Interested in Getting Help at an Alcohol Rehab Center?

Now that you know the differences between problem drinking vs alcoholism, you can have an easier time figuring out what you need to do to get better.

If you need addiction treatment, Pathways Florida would love to help you get healthy. Contact us to learn more about our Florida rehab center and services.