Listening To The Counselor

Alcoholism vs. Alcohol Abuse: What Is the Difference?

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are two common terms used to describe various patterns of alcohol use. Though they sound similar, the two are different, and understanding their differences is crucial for those struggling with their relationship with alcohol. This blog will explore the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse and shed light on how you can seek help at Chattanooga Recovery Center.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that leads to negative consequences, such as failure to meet your obligations, legal issues, or damaged relationships. You can still meet the criteria for alcohol abuse even if you don't have an alcohol use disorder. There are also different levels of alcohol abuse, and it's possible to cross over into an alcohol use disorder if individuals continue their unhealthy drinking behaviors. Recognizing the warning signs of alcohol abuse and promptly addressing them can prevent alcohol abuse from progressing.


On the other hand, alcohol use disorder, commonly called alcoholism, is a chronic and severe brain disease that makes it impossible for individuals to control their alcohol consumption. There are three categories of alcohol use disorder—mild, moderate, and severe. Symptoms of alcohol use disorder may include withdrawal, persistent cravings, increased tolerance, and difficulty functioning at home, work, or school.

What Is the Difference?

The difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse lies in the severity and chronicity of the disease. While alcohol abuse can be a sign of alcoholism, not all individuals who abuse alcohol have an alcohol use disorder. However, alcohol abuse increases your chances of developing a more serious problem over time. Individuals with alcohol use disorder need professional help to overcome their condition.

What Are the Treatments?

Fortunately, alcohol use disorder is treatable. At Chattanooga Recovery Center, our recovery program is evidence-based, comprehensive, and individualized to meet the unique needs of each patient. We offer various services, including detoxification, individual and group therapy, family support, and aftercare planning. Our team of professionals works with patients to address the underlying causes of the disorder, promote sobriety, and develop life skills that support recovery.

Alcohol Rehab in Chattanooga

Our team at Chattanooga Recovery Center can help those struggling with alcohol use to regain control of their lives, promote sobriety, and achieve lifelong recovery.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol, call us today at (423) 226-5331 or visit our website for more information about how we can help.


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