Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism


A woman shares her story on alcohol abuse and the difference from an alcoholic

"Question: Several years ago I had a routine physical. My doctor found a “markedly enlarged liver,” and informed me if I kept drinking I would soon have cirrhosis of the liver.

I had filled out a medical history form in his office that asks questions about previous illnesses, etc. Where it asked about alcohol consumption, I answered honestly that I regularly drank about six or more drinks a day, and had been doing this for many years. I never got drunk, and no one had ever commented about my drinking. My liver enzymes were all elevated and he said that I had “alcoholic hepatitis.” At that point I quit drinking alcohol and have not had a drink for five years.

Even though I drank enough over the years to cause liver disease, I do not think of myself as an alcoholic. What do you think?

answer: You are right! You are not an alcoholic. Your drinking behavior and its consequence is classified as alcohol abuse. Unlike alcoholism, alcohol abuse is characterized as being associated with all kinds of adverse social, legal and physical consequences of drinking, but the person can quit drinking permanently if motivated sufficiently."

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