Alcohol abuse, or problem drinking, is
characterized by the compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcohol,
usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, relationships and job. Alcohol
abuse involves the development of tolerance, or the need to consume more and more
alcohol to feel the same physical effects.
Alcohol addiction, the most severe form of problem
drinking, occurs when the user becomes physically dependent on alcohol. Alcohol
addiction (or alcoholism) can include any and all symptoms of alcohol abuse but will result in
withdrawal (the body’s reaction to
not having alcohol in its system) when consumption is suddenly reduced.