Alcohol Abuse

What is Alcohol Abuse?

As is often the case when trying to define human characteristics, there are numerous shadings of definitions addressing the same or closely similar behavior. The fine differences between addiction, alcohol abuse and alcoholism are fairly academic, and it turns out, at least for those living with a problem drinker, relatively unimportant.

When I started my information search, I spent a lot of time trying to get an exact definition of wife's drinking problem. In retrospect, I believe I was looking for an answer that would help me to avoid admitting that I was married to an alcoholic. That couldn’t happen to a nice person like me, could it?

Fortunately, an exact definition is not necessary to realize that we have a problem with our loved one's behavior. For our purposes, the following definition works well enough.


What is alcohol abuse?

    It can be considered any pattern of drinking that
    results in repeated or increasingly negative consequences.

What kind of negative consequences? Things like:

  • Driving drunk
  • Missing work because of drinking
  • Lying to friends and family about drinking
  • Missed appointments
  • Arguments related to or caused by drinking
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Blackouts
  • Escalating health problems
  • Spending food, rent or clothes money on alcohol
  • Partying with drinking buddies no matter what the family consequences

The bottom line is that if some of these or similar things are regularly happening to you and your family due to someone’s drinking, you have a problem drinker on your hands.


Common Questions

What are the signs of alcohol addiction?

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

What are the effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Is there a test for alcoholism?

Alcoholism Test

Is there hope for recovery from alcoholism?

Recovery from Alcoholism Opens new page on the site of someone who's living it.


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