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Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcohol Dependency

Many times, people group “alcoholics” all together under the same line of thinking. They assume that all alcoholics are alike with similar drinking problems. The truth of the matter, however, is that not everyone with alcoholism exhibits the same levels of abuse. In fact, alcoholism is actually subdivided into two different classifications, based on the severity of the problem: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is not considered to be as severe a condition as alcohol dependency, although it can lead into dependency if it is not controlled. People with this condition tend to have dangerous alcohol consumption habits. For example, they may drink in the mornings or binge drink on a regular basis. Those who abuse alcohol may also see negative changes in their daily lives – they may miss work frequently, be charged with DUI, or see their relationships deteriorate. Alcohol abusers will not, however, experience the withdrawal symptoms or extreme psychological attachment to the substance that those dependent on alcohol have.

Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency is considered to be a more serious problem than alcohol abuse. Those who abuse alcohol for a prolonged period of time, turning their habit into a chronic one, are considered to be dependent on alcohol. They typically exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Loss of self-control over how much they drink
  • Exhibition of withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking
  • Lost interest and participation in former hobbies or activities
  • Inability to stop drinking, overall
  • Drinking has taken a toll on relationships with other people

Those who show at least three of the above signs can be classified as having alcohol dependency. This illness may require treatment to resolve. People with alcohol dependency may also be at risk of losing their driver's licenses if they are caught driving under the influence.

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If you have been charged with DUI, then the Seattle DUI lawyers of Cowan Kirk can help protect your legal rights. To speak with us about your situation and your legal options, contact our offices today at 1-866-822-1230.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.