The Connection Between Alcoholism and alcohol Addiction

The Connection Between Alcoholism and Addiction-1

Table of Contents

Alcoholism and addiction represent two complex and interconnected problems that have left many people puzzled and confused. Even though each of them presents its own specific set of issues, they are frequently found together and often share the underlying factors that lead to their emergence and development.


Differentiate Alcohol Use Disorder and Addiction

The compulsive consumption of alcohol marks alcohol use disorder despite the devastating consequences it may have on one’s relationships, general well-being, and health, which is known as alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcoholism relates only to alcohol, but addiction can include a wider range of substances, e.g., opioids, cocaine, or behaviors like gambling or excessive gaming. Regardless of these variations of presentations, addiction, and alcoholism share in common their underlying processes and effects on psychology.


Reason Why People Indulge In Alcohol

There are various factors for the consumption of alcohol. People may drink due to personal or work-related stress or the loss of loved ones, which later may potentially trigger alcohol dependence. Some of the common reasons why people start drinking are as follows


To Relieve Stress

Individuals rely on alcohol to cope with stress on a regular basis. Since they are a sedative, they give you a sense of calm and pleasure. Later, people continue the habit of consuming this addicting substance and continue seeking pleasure and falling into the loop.


To Feel Good

Consuming alcohol helps people escape from their reality and offers a sense of ease. It provides primary peace of mind from underlying issues one may attempt to escape. However, taking alcohol to help cope with the day or week tends to be a sign of alcoholism.


To Cope with Grief

A family member or loved one passing away can have a detrimental impact on you. As a result, they take on alcohol consumption as a solution and find that managing their depression is easier. Furthermore, this could lead to an ongoing dependence on the drug.


To Overcome Anxiety

Some people are anxious when among people or groups, causing them to worry constantly. Drinking lowers individuals’ inhibitions and makes them more comfortable in social situations. Over time, this can lead to addictive behaviors.


Lack of Connection

People who are awkward and have difficulty connecting with peers or other people seek alcohol to give them a boost to their confidence. Continuous dependence on alcohol may later lead to severe consequences.



A majority, if not all, of the patients being treated by treatment professionals suffered some form of trauma. There are different types of trauma; they all are disturbing experiences that affect the mental health of the person with addiction. Sometimes, an individual may be free from alcohol or other addictive substances but yet stay with unhealed trauma as the most crucial point in their recovery.

The Connection Between Alcoholism and Addiction
Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The following are the signs that someone is addicted to alcohol :

  • Noticeable change in eating or sleeping habits.
  • The individual cares less about appearance.
  • Spending more time with people who indulge in the consumption of alcohol and drugs in excess.
  • Missing appointments, classes, or work commitments.
  • Lost interest in activities that the person used to enjoy.
  • Getting in trouble in school, at work, or with the law for excess alcohol consumption.
  • Strained relationships and arguments with family and friends.
  • Relying excessively on drugs or alcohol to relax.
  • Having blackouts, i.e., drinking too much alcohol that they have no memory of the next day
  • Drinking when you are alone and keeping secrets.
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol; therefore, the person consumes more of the substance to get the same feeling.
Risk of Alcoholism

The development of an AUD is mainly influenced by the extent and frequency of alcohol consumption as well as by how fast a person drinks alcohol. Binge drinking and excessive alcohol use lead to a greater likelihood of developing alcohol use disorder. Factors that contribute to the risk are as follows:


Early-age drinking

A recent national survey has shown that older individuals, i.e., people 26 years old and above who started drinking before the age of 15, are more than three times as likely to have reported developing alcohol use disorder in the past year than those who started drinking at age 21 or older. The risk for females in this group is relatively higher than that of males.


Genetics, family history of alcohol problems

Genetics are in play but are only responsible for 60% of heredity. This is like other chronic conditions that are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Children’s AUD is also impacted when both parents engage in drinking.


Mental health conditions and past traumatic experiences

Psychiatric conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are often coexistent with AUD and increase the risk for AUD. These people also may have a history of trauma in their childhood and be at a higher risk for AUD.


Alcohol Addiction and Associated Health Issues

Excessive consumption can be very dangerous for an individual and may lead to various health complications. Some of these triggers may just mildly affect your health, and others may be severe or even dangerous.

Short-term effects may be as harmful as long-term ones. Other addiction issues are as follows:


  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor reflexes
  • Reduce brain activity
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Restlessness

Also, consuming excess amounts of alcohol can affect your health in the long term. Due to this, professional help is required for proper diagnosis and treatment. The issues are as follows:

  • Brain defects
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome ( a neurobiological disease)
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes complications
  • Heart problems
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Vision damage
  • Bone loss

Drug or alcohol abuse raises the risk of various types of cancer in your body. One of the main causes of death in these cases is heart disease, which is mainly due to excessive drinking. Consumption during pregnancy may result in a condition called Fetal alcohol, which has serious bad effects on the body of the pregnant lady.

Even if the individual decides to go for alcohol withdrawal, it can cause serious psychological effects as soon as the withdrawal symptoms are displayed.


Treatment Procedure

The cure should start by identifying the psychological issues that led the individual to get addicted. This treatment is not merely medicine-based but also based on knowing the individual, his background, and the present condition through which the individual is going. Therapy in behavior, as well as counseling sections, are the initial stages of this treatment. Medications and various therapies follow it.


Short-term issues of alcohol are poor reflexes and coordination, slow reaction time, blurry vision, restlessness, and difficulty in breathing.

For people with AUD, it includes various treatment plans, like therapy, counseling, detoxification, rehabilitation, and maintenance. Treatment for individuals is personalized according to their needs.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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