Difference Between Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse are two major medical disorders associated with a person’s habit of consuming alcohol frequently, and these are considered majorly destructive as they impact the person in almost all the possible dimensions.


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It is important to mark a clear line of distinction between these two so as two circulate awareness as a measure of curbing them. 

Alcohol Dependence vs Alcohol Abuse 

The difference between Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse is that the former denotes a medical condition of a person who is having a really hard time letting his habit of alcohol go and who is almost incapable of leaving it, but on the other hand, the latter simply denotes the behavior of a person when he is being more inclined towards alcohol. 

Alcohol Dependence vs Alcohol Abuse

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Alcohol Dependence is both a medical and psychological condition and refers to a person who happens to be completely submerged into the habit of drinking alcohol.

A person is said to be dependent when he finds it almost impossible to leave such a habit and guides his life in such misery. But on the other hand, alcohol abuse is a less dangerous trait of any person and shows the tendency of that person inclining towards the use of alcohol to a larger extent.

However, this situation happens to be easily controllable as compared to the previous one, and it is also the first stage of alcoholism in any given individual. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Alcohol Dependence Alcohol Abuse 
Meaning  A syndrome that defines a person who feels completely dependent on the consumption of alcoholic substances. A syndrome that defines a person who is inclined towards the consumption of alcoholic substances. 
Gravity  It is a very grave syndrome. The gravity of this syndrome is comparatively less. 
Possibility of giving up It is very hard for the affected person to leave the use of such substances. By resorting to certain remedies, the use of substances can easily be avoided. 
Symptoms  The affected person happens to be in a very severe condition and it becomes very difficult for him to get out of the situation. The affected person is likely to consume more alcohol than a usual person.
Treatment  It requires medical and psychological attention to get away with this syndrome. A change in habit can cure this syndrome. 

What is Alcohol Dependence? 

Alcohol dependence is a term that denotes a very grave and difficult situation of alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, this situation is prevalent in many countries, and many people can be found suffering from this particular situation or disease.  

The situation is said to be the last stage of alcoholism and represents that a person is going through the most severe type of alcohol dependency possible.

A very common symptom of this particular situation is the psychological and mental aspect of the affected person and his inability to leave the use of such substances easily.  Therefore, apart from some medical drugs, certain psychological remedies are also used to suppress the situation in many people as the impact of this situation extends to the psyche of a person also.

A very common symptom during the diagnosis of this syndrome is that the affected person finds it very hard to leave the continuous consumption of alcohol even after knowing all the negative repercussions. 

What is Alcohol Abuse? 

On a completely different note, the term alcohol abuse largely deviates from the term alcohol dependence; however, in terms of mental disorders the both have been kept in a similar category.

A person is set to go through the situation of alcohol abuse when he consumes alcohol more than he should do. This situation is very dynamic, and the person affected can be a consumer of alcohol either regularly or occasionally.

However, unlike the previous syndrome, this situation does not make it very hard for the person to live up to the alcohol, and by resorting to certain self-help remedies, the consumption can easily be decreased to a lower limit.  

A very common symptom found in the people going through alcohol abuse is that they find hardships during their day-to-day life because of the overconsumption of alcohol, and such hardships might be seen during their friendship relationships and at work.

In the journey of medication, the biggest tool of the person going through alcohol abuse is his determination and will, and if the person is determined enough, he can easily resolve his situation without taking the help of heavy medications. 

Main Differences Between Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse 

  1. Alcohol Dependence refers to a condition of absolute dependency of a person over alcohol, while on the other hand, Alcohol Abuse is just a situation in which a person more alcohol than usual. 
  2. Alcohol Dependence is a very grave syndrome, while on the other hand, Alcohol Abuse is comparatively less grave. 
  3. Alcohol Dependence makes it very hard for the affected person to give up alcohol, while on the other hand, Alcohol Abuse can be avoided by certain remedies. 
  4. Alcohol Dependence has psychological and medical symptoms, while on the other hand, Alcohol Abuse can be detected in a person who consumes more alcohol than needed. 
  5. Alcohol Dependence is the last stage of alcoholism, while on the other hand, Alcohol Abuse is the beginning stage of alcoholism. 
Difference Between Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1982-26039-001 
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4757-5217-5_2  
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