You may have heard someone once say,” I’m not an alcoholic; I’m just a lousy drunk,” and rolled your eyes. Is there a difference? You may have asked yourself. Well, there is.
This article will examine the difference between alcoholics and unhealthy drinkers and common signs to look for in an alcoholic.
If you picture yourself when reading the signs of an alcoholic and live in Indiana, please reach out to an Indianapolis alcohol rehab center.
Alcoholism is a disease where a person has a physical and mental dependence on alcohol; they are addicted to the substance. A severe alcoholic will not be able to function without alcohol, and they will feel physically and mentally weaker without the substance.
This alcohol dependence can lead to various problems in an alcoholic daily life, such as emotional instability and a constant urge to have another drink. As alcoholics get deeper into their addiction, they build a higher tolerance to alcohol and consume more and more.
Alcoholics can go into withdrawal if they are denied alcohol for a period of time. Some of the withdrawal symptoms you may see are uncontrollable shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- A constant urge to intake alcohol.
- Drinking alcohol in dangerous situations, such as when you are driving.
- Avoiding social activities and hobbies you used to enjoy to continue drinking.
- It takes more and more drinks to satisfy your cravings.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking for a short time.
Unhealthy, or problem drinking, differentiates from alcoholism because an unhealthy drinker is not dependent on alcohol to function normally. Unhealthy drinking can still have a negative impact on the individual, however.
An unhealthy drinker experiences negative emotions and consequences as soon as they partake in alcohol. For example, an unhealthy drinker might be prone to fighting and arguing after drinking, or they may be more likely to fall into a deep depression. An unhealthy drinker may also be more likely to miss work or other important events and responsibilities after a night of a drink because they are more prone to intense hangovers.
Most concerning is that unhealthy drinkers may be more inclined to engage in reckless behavior such as driving under the influence, or fighting, which could have severe legal consequences.
However, unlike an alcoholic, an unhealthy drinker can go weeks or even months without consuming alcohol. They are not physically dependent on the substance, so they will not experience any withdrawal symptoms. But when they do drink, it can have a detrimental impact on their lives because they are unable to handle the mood changes alcohol provides.
Alcoholism vs. Unhealthy Drinking Disadvantages
Alcoholism and unhealthy drinking both have significant disadvantages and negative effects on individuals and their surroundings. Let’s discuss the disadvantages of each:
- Physical Health Consequences: Alcoholism can lead to a range of severe health problems, including liver disease, cardiovascular issues, pancreatitis, and increased risk of cancer. It can also weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases.
- Mental and Emotional Health Issues: Alcoholism often coexists with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It can exacerbate these conditions and lead to the development of new mental health issues.
- Social and Relationship Problems: Alcoholism can strain relationships with family, friends, and partners due to erratic behavior, emotional instability, and impaired judgment. Trust can be broken, and conflicts may arise, leading to isolation and loneliness.
- Financial Difficulties: Alcoholism can be financially burdensome. The cost of purchasing alcohol regularly, coupled with potential job loss, decreased productivity, or legal issues, can lead to significant financial strain and debt.
- Legal Consequences: Alcohol-related behaviors such as driving under the influence can result in legal issues, including fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment. Legal problems further compound the negative consequences of alcoholism.
- Unhealthy Drinking:
- Physical Health Risks: Regular unhealthy drinking, even if not classified as alcoholism, can still have detrimental effects on physical health. It can lead to liver damage, heart problems, weakened immune system, increased risk of accidents, Bedwetting When Drunk and various other health issues associated with alcohol consumption.
- Impaired Judgment and Decision Making: Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol impairs cognitive function, leading to poor decision-making abilities and impaired judgment. This can result in risky behaviors, accidents, and potentially dangerous situations.
- Relationship Strain: Unhealthy drinking patterns can strain relationships and cause conflicts with family, friends, and partners. It may lead to communication breakdowns, emotional distance, and a lack of trust.
- Negative Impact on Work and Productivity: Unhealthy drinking can affect work performance and productivity. Absenteeism, decreased concentration, and impaired cognitive abilities can hinder job performance and potentially lead to job loss.
- Mental Health Issues: Frequent unhealthy drinking can contribute to the development or worsening of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Alcohol is a depressant and can exacerbate feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
It’s important to note that both alcoholism and unhealthy drinking can have severe consequences on an individual’s physical and mental well-being, relationships, work, and overall quality of life. Seeking help, whether through support groups, therapy, or treatment programs, can be crucial in addressing these issues and promoting a healthier, happier life.
Just because we have established a difference between alcoholics and unhealthy drinkers doesn’t mean unhealthy drinkers should not worry about consuming alcohol. In fact, unhealthy drinkers who recognize their negative behaviors when under the influence but continue to partake in alcohol regularly are more likely to develop into alcoholics. If you classify yourself in any of these categories, please reach out to an Indianapolis alcohol rehab center.