In today's society, it isn't unusual to consume alcohol for pleasure or relaxation. Often, people enjoy a glass of wine with a meal or a beer while in the company of friends. While this type of “normal” use of alcohol does not present a problem for most, it can potentially become excessive for others and result in what is known as alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that can affect social and emotional responsibilities and even result in legal problems. When a person abuses alcohol, his or her drinking habits can harm his or her health or cause injury to the abuser or others. Eventually, if left unchecked, alcohol abuse can transition into alcoholism, which is also known as alcohol dependence. Alcoholism is a disease in which a person develops a physical dependency or addiction to alcohol.
When friends or family members suspect that someone who they care for is abusing alcohol, they will want to take action so that the suspected abuser can get the necessary help. When there is suspicion of alcohol abuse, certain clear indicators typically present themselves. A common sign is when an individual neglects responsibilities such as a job, school work or family obligations. An alcohol abuser also uses alcohol in situations when it is unsafe to do so such as on a boat or when driving a vehicle. Another sign of alcohol abuse is when a person regularly uses alcohol as a method to relieve stress.
Although alcohol abuse is not yet alcohol dependence, it can be difficult for people with a problem to recognize it within themselves. It can be even more difficult for them to stop this type of drinking pattern. The help and support of friends and family are critical at this time for alcohol abusers to have the greatest chance of success at changing their behavior. The best way to do this is for all parties, including the person who is abusing alcohol, to learn as much as they can about alcohol abuse.
A two page article on WebMD that provides an overview of treatment methods for alcohol abuse. This article explains how treatment starts and types of treatment programs.
Complications of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are described in detail on the Mayo Clinic website.
A list of facts about alcohol abuse and alcoholism on Medicine.net. The list includes signs of alcohol abuse and statistics, such as the number of people under the age of 21 that die in alcohol-related accidents yearly and the percentage of women that are affected by alcohol abuse.
An in-depth review of how alcohol abuse affects the brain. This page also reviews Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
A page on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. The page focus on both alcoholism and alcohol abuse. It explains that alcohol abuse can be as serious a disorder as alcoholism even though abusers are not dependent on alcohol.
An article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that explains alcohol as a drug of abuse. This article also explains that alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism.
A web page that reviews valuable information about alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Information includes the differences between abuse and dependence, warning signs, indicators in the workplace, security concerns in the workplace and treatment.
An article from the Child Welfare Information Gateway that explains how alcohol and other substance abuse negatively affects children and families as a whole.
A KidsHealth article that explains the short- and long-term effects of alcohol abuse. The effects discussed are both physical and mental.
A page on the HelpGuide.org website that reviews alcohol abuse. This page discusses how to understand alcohol abuse, signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse and the effects of alcohol abuse on friends and family.