Etoh abuse is used in everyday language to describe misuse of or dependence on alcohol. Most people have not heard of alcoholism being referred to as ETOH abuse and this is because this phrase is predominantly used in the medical and rehabilitation sector (ETOH is short for ethanol, and which is the primary ingredient in alcohol). However, learning the difference between alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse is important for us. Nearly 8% of the US population abuses alcohol or is an alcoholic according to diagnostic standards.
Abuse vs. Dependence
ETOH has no nutritional value. The alcohol content varies by drinks, but they all have the same effect depending on the rate that they are consumed. Behavior changes will not be noted if the person drinks one average sized drink per hour. It is 1 in 20 leading cause of death in U.S.
Genetics also play a significant role in ETOH abuse and those who have any kind of addiction in their family have an increased risk for developing a drinking problem. Even people that might not necessarily have addiction in their family but have a history of mental illness are at an elevated risk. Peer pressure and change may also be relevant factors that need to be considered.
ETOH abuse has a definite pattern; it usually starts out innocently and then becomes the most important thing in the individual’s life as the drinking becomes more and more frequent. Soon, the drinking becomes destructive and abusing almost always ends in full-blown alcoholism.
Once alcoholism has developed it is impossible for the individual to function without alcohol even when the consequences are serious. Little by little relationships begin to unravel, jobs are lost or families are broken, along with legal problems arise.
Successful treatment of alcohol abuse requires a multidisciplinary approach with services to meet an individual’s psychological, social, medical and behavioral needs. Medical approaches to treating alcohol abuse are aimed at identifying and treating any consequences of excessive drinking, and discouraging the use of alcohol with medications that dampen its effects or make its use unpleasant.