Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
The main symptom of alcohol abuse occurs when someone continues to drink after their drinking reaches a level that causes recurrent problems. Continuing to drink after a session or two has caused someone to miss work, drive drunk, shirk responsibilities or get in trouble with the law is considered alcohol abuse.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IV, defines alcohol abuse as drinking despite alcohol-related physical, social, psychological, or occupational problems, or drinking in dangerous situations, such as while driving. The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases refers to harmful use of alcohol, or drinking that causes either physical or mental damage in the absence of alcohol dependence.
In other words, alcohol abuse is any harmful use of alcohol.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
For someone who is alcoholic or alcohol dependent, the symptoms include all of those associated with alcohol abuse (above). But alcoholics also continue to drink in spite of all the problems it has caused in their lives. When alcohol abuse reaches the alcohol dependence stage, the person also experiences at least three of seven other symptoms, including neglect of other activities, excessive use of alcohol, impaired control of alcohol consumption, persistence of alcohol use, large amounts of time spent in alcohol-related activities, withdrawal symptoms and finally a very high tolerance of alcohol before outward evidence of its presence