Who Needs Alcohol Addiction Treatment – Problem Drinkers or Alcoholics?

There are two types of people who have issue with alcohol; one of them can be referred to as problem drinkers and the other are those who are alcoholics. The two categories are not the same, even though alcohol definitely creates a problem in the lives of both types of people. Alcohol addiction treatment can help people in both categories to deal with this issue and have a much healthier lifestyle and better relationships with others.

Difference Between Problem Drinking and Alcoholism

Problem Drinking

People who are problem drinkers do not yet have a physical dependency on alcohol. If they don’t drink for a time, they do not necessarily experience withdrawal symptoms.

The problem with people in this category is that when they do drink, they tend to abuse alcohol; whether it is binge drinking, heavy drinking or social drinking.

Drinking becomes problem drinking when it starts causing issues in the drinker’s life including disruptions with work or work reliability, partner/family arguments, accidents, DUI, financial burdens etc.

Continuing to drink despite these negative consequences should definitely be a wake-up-call that alcohol addiction treatment is necessary.


An alcoholic is physically and mentally dependent on alcohol. They find it difficult to go for an extended period of time without taking a drink. If an alcoholic doesn’t drink regularly, he or she will start to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, nausea, vomiting or anxiety.

Signs of Problem Drinking

Problem drinking can cause the person affected to make bad choices. Here are some examples:

  • Missing work or school
  • Avoiding spending time with family and friends in order to drink alone
  • Spending money to buy alcohol rather than keeping up with financial obligations
  • Becoming involved in risky or unsafe sexual behavior with partners he or she does not know
  • Dropping old friends in favor of new ones who drink regularly
  • Driving drunk and getting arrested and/or being involved in an accident

Signs of Alcoholism

  • Feeling compelled to drink
  • Unable to stop drinking on one’s own
  • Drinking alone or hiding one’s drinking
  • Drinking so much that “blackouts” occur
  • Becoming irritable when a drink is not available at a time when it is expected
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies that used to be pleasurable

When to Seek Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcoholics definitely need to seek help – and without delay, but people who are problem drinkers can also benefit from addiction treatment for alcohol, too. If left untreated, their issue could develop into full-blown alcoholism before they know it. Even if it doesn’t, the problem drinking lifestyle is not positive or healthy and help is needed to find out why they are turning to alcohol instead of dealing with possible underlying issues.

Unique and Customized Addiction Treatment

We here at Summit Behavioral Health offer a unique approach to our intensive outpatient treatment program. We start with a comprehensive personal assessment then create a customized treatment plan, based off the assessment for each client’s individual needs. We provide safe and comfortable treatment that focuses on a holistic approach for a complete recovery!


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