An alcohol addiction is virtually always referred to as alcoholism, although sometimes other terminology is used such as alcohol dependence or the term alcohol addiction itself. In truth the terminology used to define an alcohol addiction is secondary to the reality of what such an addiction does to the individual, their families and the surrounding people in their lives.
An alcohol addiction or alcoholism is difficult to define, but is quite easy in a sense to understand if you are heavily affected by it and have the clarity to understand what is happening. One of the features of alcoholism or alcohol addiction is that often the alcoholic themselves and the people closest to them are in complete denial of the fact that there is a problem, or that any of the individuals concerned need help.
It is worth making the point that there is a difference between someone who is an alcoholic, and someone who is a very heavy drinker but not necessarily an alcoholic. To some people this may be a bit of a pointless difference to make, but it is important in terms of the individual and their need to understand what is happening to them.
Someone who is a heavy drinker, who has an alcohol addiction may well have serious problems in their lives as a result of their drinking, but is likely to be able to stop or cut down significantly on their own, albeit with a considerable amount of difficulty and hard work.
Alcohol Addiction – Alcoholism
Someone who is an alcoholic, either potential or full-blown is unlikely to be able stop on their own, or often have the desire to stop or cut down at all. The framework of Alcoholics Anonymous as a 12-step fellowship makes very clear that an individual who cannot stop can get help and achieve sobriety through meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, either by going to meetings directly or through exposure in a rehab.
Alcohol addiction should be seen as a serious medical condition, and anyone contemplating stopping drinking or cutting down quickly should seek medical help and advice prior to beginning the process of stopping.
This is simple because the withdrawal effects of alcohol, especially if the individual is using other substances as well, can have serious complications, both medical and mental for the individual, and as such a medically supervised detox is often recommended.
In any event an individual should be assessed by a qualified medical doctor as to whether a medical detox is needed or not. Alcohol addiction is a serious condition, and the appropriate help should be sought by the by the individual or their families at the earliest opportunity.