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Alcohol Dependence vs Alcohol Addiction

People often think that alcohol dependence and addiction are the same. However, these are two different conditions. While some rehab clinics use similar treatment options for both, the brain handles addiction and dependency differently. Knowing the difference between the two can really help people in the long run.

Dependence vs Addiction

Different parts of the brain are responsible for dependence and addiction. The reward pathway is responsible for addiction. For dependence, however, the brainstem and thalamus handle the responsibility. Since different areas of the brain are responsible for each condition, it’s possible to suffer from both simultaneously.

Suffering from both addiction and dependence is common for people who suffer from chronic alcohol use. When individuals struggle with an alcohol dependence, they experience withdrawal when they try to stop drinking. People with addiction are compulsive users, which isn’t always the case for people who are dependent on alcohol.

Alcohol Dependence

People who depend on alcohol require outside help to stop drinking. In most cases, this outside help is at a professional rehab center. People can also look for certain criteria to see if they or a loved one is alcohol dependent.

One criterion is a smaller choice of drink. Instead of drinking a lot of different drinks, they only drink a specific type or brand. In most cases, they drink the same thing every night.

Another criterion is that people only go to places or events where they can drink. They don’t care so much about hanging out with friends. Instead, they just want a reason to drink. Of course, they also don’t need a reason to drink and will drink alone if they need to.

People with drug dependence also build up a tolerance. They can still get drunk, but they need more alcohol for that to happen. For example, maybe it takes someone only two or three cocktails to get a buzz. People with a tolerance might need five or six.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are also common for people with a drug dependence. Common symptoms usually include:

  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

These symptoms usually kick in within 24 hours of the last drink. They go away when people have more alcohol. It’s not uncommon for these symptoms to last for days. However, some mild side effects can still occur months after the last drink.

Kick Your Alcohol Dependence to the Curb

At Memphis Recovery, we aim to help our clients overcome drug addiction and dependence. We work with people who abuse a number of drugs, including alcohol, heroin, and meth. Some of the addiction treatment programs that we offer include:

Don’t let alcohol dependence get the best of you. Let Memphis Recovery lead you down the path to recovery. Call us today at 866-304-8254 for more information about our substance abuse treatment options.