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What is it called when a person who is dependent on alcohol?


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July 08, 2015 10:41PM

Without knowing a person's situation, there should never be a rushed judgment to their "label", medically or otherwise. However, within the 12 Steps of Alcoholic's Anonymous, there are some questions that they advice the individual or the family of the individual to ask to bring enlightenment to the situation and perhaps lead them to realize their life has become unmanageable.

The word "DEPENDENT" implies that the individual CANNOT abstain from alcohol, the chemical, without suffering a physical withdrawal and a psychological withdrawal that can cause them or those they love potential harm.

But DEPENDENT does not necessarily imply "ADDICTED" or "ALCOHOLIC", although there is quite often a rush to such judgment.

Cancer patients, for example, are quite often "dependent" on their pain medication to keep their pain manageable. Were they to suddenly be taken off these medications, they would suffer physical withdrawal and most likely psychological along with the pain that caused them to need the medication to begin with.

ADDICTION is a very different term than DEPENDENCE.

The questions one must ask to determine the difference is:

1. Is the alcohol causing my life to be unmanageable ?) in danger of losing job due to behavior while intoxicated, or zero tolerance for alcohol in workplace, in danger of losing a relationship due to the actions or inaction of the person while drinking.)

2. Is my life getting BETTER from using alcohol? (getting promotions, feeling joy, family harmony, etc)

3. Is my life getting WORSE from the presence of alcohol? (forgetting where you were the night before/blackouts, health consequences , etc)

4. Were I to go one week without alcohol, would that very thought (or action) scare me, and if not, can I do it?

5. Do I have to manipulate those I love to continue drinking? Do I have to rationalize , minimize, justify, blame others to continue my drinking?

6. HAS my drinking gotten to a point where I am drinking far more than I want to? (instead of a "before dinner cocktail" am I having a before, during, after cocktail(s)? Do I feel the need to hide this from those I love?

these are hard questions to face- and if you are worried about a loved one, you may go through the checklist- one at a time- and just change the wording to "he/she" rather than "I" and take an honest look at your OWN actions to stop this person. There are support groups for those who have a loved one suffering from problem drinking.