The Difference between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Have you ever known someone who you thought had a serious alcohol problem which they denied? Or, have you ever been surprised by someone unexpectedly going into rehab? The line between problematic over-drinking and severe diagnosable alcoholism is one of severity.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

What qualifies as excessive drinking may vary depending on many different factors. Generally, it’s agreed upon that for an adult male it’s around fifteen or more glasses of alcohol a week. For an adult woman it’s about 8 glasses a week or any while pregnant. It’s important to note though that your mileage may vary, so please continue reading.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also called Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a severe medical problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.” In short: it is a state of reliance on alcohol.

If you or a loved one experiences any of the following, you should seek help:

  • Drinking is interfering with any aspect of life such as school, job, health, or relationships
  • Trouble concentrating on anything besides how much you wanted a drink
  • Continued drinking even if it made you feel depressed, lonely, or put you in unsafe situations
  • Difficulty in an attempt to cut down drinking
  • Your tolerance to alcohol has caused you to drink more for the same effect you once got for less

How Can I Get Help?

Alcoholism is a medical condition that warrants compassion rather than shame. As singer and songwriter Ken Hensley once said: “It is hard to understand addiction unless you have experienced it.” If someone tells you they think they might have a problem: take them seriously and ask how you can help. If you think you might have a problem: trust your instincts and get help. Talk to your doctor or call us now at (866) 319-6126.

List of Opioids with Addictive Qualities

Sometimes it starts innocently enough. You have an injury, maybe due to no fault of your own. You go to the doctor for help and are prescribed medication. Later, you find yourself addicted.

Addictive Opioids

One of the biggest problems with addictive medicine is that we are responsible for our health, but we don’t have the skills and knowledge that doctors do. It is important to discuss our fears and experiences with our doctors. This way,  the doctor is informed enough about your background to make the best decisions, and we can make the best choices for ourselves. If you are concerned about opioids and potential addiction, it is good to go in to that consultation with the doctor armed with knowledge.


Here are a few of the most commonly abused addictive opioids:

  • Oxycodone – sold under brand names such as OxyContin
  • Codeine – commonly found in cough syrup
  • Fentanyl – 50-100 times stronger than morphine; According to the CDC it’s responsible for over half of the opioid overdose deaths in 10 states
  • Meperidine – sold under brand names such as Demerol
  • Vicodin
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Levorphanol
  • Morphine
  • Tapentadol
  • Hydrocodone
  • Norco
  • Percocet
  • Percodan
  • Demerol
  • Pethidine
  • Tramadol
  • Lavdanum

Signs of Addiction

Addiction comes in many forms but here are some of the most common signs of addiction and misuse of opioids:

  • Euphoria
  • Feeling drowsy or lethargic
  • Feeling confused or dizzy
  • Changes in vision, personality, or behavior
  • Constipation and/or vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Trouble breathing
  • Headaches
  • And seizures

If You Find Yourself Addicted

Addiction happens, and could happen to any of us. Talk with your doctor about pros and cons with regards to prescription medication and learn what you can about alternatives. Do your homework and make an informed decision. And if you do find yourself addicted, treat yourself with compassion and seek treatment as soon as possible.


Contact us today for more information about opioid addiction recovery and substance abuse rehab


Signs Your Teen is Abusing Alcohol

It is safe to assume that your teenager will experiment with alcohol. Sure, there is a small number who don’t, but around 72 percent of students have tried more than a few sips before graduating high school.

Why Do Teenagers Abuse Alcohol?

Experimenting and risk taking is programmed into us, it’s one of the reasons why our species has been so successful. Unfortunately when you combine physical and emotional underdevelopment with a lack of communication skills and rebellion, serious problems can occur. Teenagers drink for many of the same reasons adults do: they want to experiment, they want to have fun, and they want to hide from their emotions. The life of a teenager is hard, and an early addiction to alcohol can make it worse fast.

Warning Signs

  • Watch for mood changes beyond just normal teen angst
  • Look for dilation of the eyes and flushed cheeks
  • Does the teen’s driving alter when they’re coming home after hanging out with friends?
  • Has a normally open teen suddenly become very secretive?

These signs don’t necessarily mean your teen is abusing alcohol or drugs, they may be a sign of a problem in this or another area. They could also just be part of the normal growing up process.


What You Can Do

Communicating with your teen is critical. This doesn’t mean talking at them, or telling them that their experiences aren’t that bad. It means listening and validating their truth.

We don’t start learning about cars the first moment we sit behind a wheel, we start learning as a child. We see our parents driving, we see other drivers on the road all that time we’re learning, it’s what we’re programmed to do. Similarly, you teen has already learned about alcohol their entire lives from examples of their family, friends, television, and other members of the community. Don’t wait to have a conversation about alcohol with your teen because by then they may have already learned the wrong things.

Demonstrate responsible coping skills from their infancy. Build a relationship where they feel safe to communicate with you. Create a network of responsible mentors who can look for the warning signs and can demonstrate healthy living and emotional maturity. Finally show them that your need is for them to have a healthy life and that if they come to you for help, you’ll priority will be helping rather than punishing.


To find what options exist to help your teen, call us at (866) 319-6126.