The Difference Between Heavy Drinking and Alcoholism

The Difference Between Heavy Drinking and Alcoholism

Many Americans may have experienced a loved one who causes problems when they drink, whether it’s problems in their own lives or in the lives of those around them. Because of repeatedly negative behavior, one may wonder if their loved one is a heavy drinker or an alcoholic. Understanding the difference between the two will help individuals discern how to best assist their loved ones so that they can hopefully make better life choices.

What is Heavy Drinking?

Although someone may drink heavily, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are an alcoholic. Heavy drinkers, or binge drinkers, may have more than four or five drinks within a two-hour span every other week or so. Although drinking heavily may cause them to partake in hazardous behavior, they aren’t dependent on alcohol and could stop drinking if they truly wanted to without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Because heavy drinkers are not physically dependent on alcohol, they can go long periods of time without drinking. However, when they do have a drink, they’ll keep drinking until they reach their capacity, which may cause them to put themselves and others at risk. For example, heavy drinking could cause individuals to become angry or physically violent overspend money they don’t have, take risks with their lives or other people’s lives, have unsafe sex with strangers, miss class or work, and more.

What is Alcoholism?

People suffering from alcoholism may partake in the same dangerous activities as heavy drinkers, but the difference is alcoholics are physically dependent on alcohol. They cannot control their use of alcohol even if it causes them and others emotional and/or physical distress.

Because alcoholics physically crave a drink every day, their tolerance builds, which means they have to increase their intake of alcohol to get the buzz or drunk feeling that they’re looking for. Because their intake increases, they feel as though they need a certain amount of alcohol to prevent them from experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Due to their daily alcohol cravings, they are unable to think about anything else until they have a drink in their hand.

Whether individuals are heavy drinkers or suffer from alcoholism, their relationship with alcohol is unhealthy, which means they need proper assistance to help them recognize their issues and make better life decisions. Some people may need to be checked into a rehabilitation center, while others may benefit from an alternative treatment center. If you are located near Burns, Tennessee, Discovery Place is an alternative treatment center designed to assist people suffering from alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders.

Alternative Treatment Centers in Tennessee

The Difference Between Heavy Drinking and AlcoholismDiscovery Place is an alternative treatment center that offers 30-Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program, a Long-Term Alternative Addiction Recovery Program, and more, depending on each individual’s needs. Because we are not a traditional addiction treatment center, our services help individuals maintain long-lasting sobriety because we don’t solely rely on therapeutic and psychiatric approaches.  If you feel as though you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, contact us today for a free consultation at (800) 725-0922.