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The Different Types of Alcohol Abuse and Dependency


When people hear “alcoholic” they often get a particular image in their head. They might picture someone stumbling drunk, or someone that spends all day drinking. The reality is that there are many different types of alcohol abuse and dependency. All forms of alcohol problems are dangerous to a person’s health and any alcohol detox should be overseen by a professional. However, understanding a person’s type of alcohol abuse can help gain insight into their condition.


Binge Drinking

Many people don’t realize that binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse. It’s one of the most common alcohol problems, and one of the most dangerous. Binge drinking is officially defined as having 5 or more standard drinks in one sitting. This form of alcohol abuse is common among young adults, particularly teens and college-aged individuals. There are actually different forms of binge drinking, with some stating there are 9 different types of binge drinkers.


Alcohol Abuse

Having one too many drinks occasionally might be a problem, but it doesn’t usually heavily impact one’s life. When bouts of drinking begin to cause real personal problems, and one continues to drink despite the negative consequences, this is referred to as alcohol abuse. If drinking has caused issues in a personal social, professional, or legal aspects of their life they should seek help.


Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol addiction is a progressive disease, and in no time alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence. At this point, alcohol will cause issues in a person’s life and have physical health consequences. A person is alcohol dependent when they:

  • Drink despite physical or psychological problems
  • Crave alcohol when not drinking
  • Develop a tolerance for the effects of alcohol
  • Have withdrawal symptoms when not drinking


Once someone is alcohol dependent, treatment becomes more difficult but not impossible. Detoxing from alcohol at this stage without medical help can be extremely dangerous.


If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or dependency please contact us.