Most people are familiar with the term alcoholism, but many are unclear as to what alcoholism actually means or whether it is the same as an addiction to alcohol.
In addition many people are unclear as to what constitutes an addiction to alcohol, and whether such an addiction is something that they need to seek treatment for by way of a rehab or other type of intervention or help such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
An addiction to alcohol needs to be seen in the context of what alcoholism is and what it is not.
There can be a distinction between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker, and such a distinction is explained more fully in the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
In summary, the book makes a distinction that a heavy drinker may be able to stop, albeit with some difficulty, if circumstances and pressures necessitated.
An alcoholic, on the other hand, once in full flow of the alcoholism will be almost unable to stop whatever the pressures or circumstances of their lives.
In one sense it is possible to argue that both of the above have an addiction to alcohol. A heavy drinker may have an addiction to alcohol by way of drinking significant quantities of alcohol and experiencing numerous problems as a result.
An alcoholic will also have an addiction to alcohol, often referred to as a compulsion to drink, that they have no mental control over and are completely unable to stop. The question of what is addiction to alcohol perhaps slightly misses the point.
If someone is an alcoholic they will have an addiction to alcohol, but because of the nature of the alcoholism they will most likely be in denial of this issue.
Addiction to Alcohol – Alcoholics Anonymous
Many people who are alcoholics seek help by way of entering a rehab or treatment center. Others will go directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Some people will seek help for an addiction to alcohol by way of looking at ways to cut down their drinking or drink less.
For many people this approach is likely to be unsatisfactory, and is often seen as an avoidance mechanism for dealing with the real problem.
An addiction to alcohol, if someone is an alcoholic can start at a relatively early age, or can kick in at a relatively late stage in life, or somewhere in between. A rehab or treatment center will often address age specific issues, which may be appropriate to the circumstances relating to the addiction to alcohol.
The term young people is often used in relation to addiction to alcohol, and what the solution is to dealing with it. Sometimes the problem is that this addiction to alcohol is seen simply as a part of the growing up process of a normal adolescent, and is not seen as a problem in its own right.
An addiction to alcohol is a problem-period. In one sense it does not really matter whether the person is an alcoholic or a heavy drinker, young or old, addiction to alcohol creates real problems for the person themselves and for the immediate family and possibly society as well.
The distinction between alcoholism and heavy drinking in relation to addiction to alcohol is hugely important from a treatment perspective, whether that treatment be in a rehab or meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or both.