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Alcoholism vs. Binge Drinking: How To Tell The Difference

Alcoholism and binge drinking are both terms used to describe heavy drinking. However, one is a regular use of alcohol at different periods, and the other is for a specific period. Both conditions can also severely affect your health, with one being more severe than the other.

Some people interchange the terms when talking about someone who drinks a lot, but they have different meanings. The only correlation is that both involve taking a lot of alcohol and could affect your health. Let us look at how different the two terms are and how each affects your body.

The Difference Between Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

1. The Frequency of Consumption

The main difference between alcoholism and binge drinking is the frequency of alcohol consumption. With binge drinking, you can have big gaps between drinking because you are not dependent on alcohol.

However, someone suffering from alcoholism must drink all the time to function normally. The drinking habit for alcoholics is steady and almost like a ritual that they must perform when the body is low on alcohol.

2. The Risks and Dangers

There are different risks and dangers associated with both binge drinking and alcoholism. However, the dangers of alcoholism are much more detrimental to your health and could even lead to death. These risks include depression, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and seizures, among others.

With binge drinking, you risk alcohol poisoning, making risky decisions, sexual dysfunction, and unintended injuries. The effects of binge drinking are less severe than those of alcoholism but can also negatively affect your life.

3. Available Treatment Options

There is a considerable difference between alcoholism and binge drinking when it comes to treatment because the treatment for binge drinkers cannot work for alcoholism. Alcoholism requires medical detox, a recovery center program, and a lot of support. Binge drinking only requires several therapy sessions and a plan to stop the habit, which you can achieve within a short period.

4. The Drinking Environment

How someone drinks can also tell you whether they are a binge drinker or an alcoholic. Binge drinkers will drink at social events and places, probably in the evenings or the afternoons. However, an alcoholic drinks anytime and anywhere, even when they are alone. Therefore, how someone drinks alcohol is an excellent way to tell the difference between alcoholism and binge drinking.

5. The Physical Dependency

Alcoholics are physically dependent on alcohol and cannot function properly without alcohol in their bloodstream. On the other hand, binge drinking does not have a physical dependency, which is why a binge drinker can go for days without taking alcohol. They might enjoy heavy drinking but do not need the alcohol to operate.

Conclusion: The difference between alcoholism and binge drinking is that one requires immediate attention to avoid ruining one’s life, while you can solve the other through a few therapy sessions. If you discover you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, it is time to check yourself into a rehabilitation facility and get treatment.

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