Dallas DWI Lawyer

Alcohol Dependency vs. Alcohol Abuse

The definition of alcoholism can vary widely depending on who you ask. Because different people and organizations have such different goals, experiences, and philosophical views, it can be difficult to get everyone to agree on what exactly is problem drinking and what is not.

Alcohol and the DSM IV

To answer this question, psychologists and psychiatrists generally rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), currently in its fourth edition. This is a large handbook specifying detailed behaviors that are associated with certain psychological problems. Because Dallas DWI attorney Mark Lassiter cares about the health of his clients, we would like to review what the DSM IV has to say about alcoholism.

First, the DSM distinguishes between two similar but quite distinct issues: alcohol abuse, which is consuming alcohol in an unhealthy way, and alcohol dependency, which is a serious addiction.

Alcohol Abuse

A person is abusing alcohol if he or she continues to consume it at or near the same rate after experiencing financial, legal, personal, or work-related consequences. A person may cut down somewhat, but if he or she continues to suffer negative consequences for drinking, then he or she continues to have a problem.

Some people stop abusing alcohol by quitting drinking entirely. Others argue that some abusers, especially young people who have not been drinking long, are capable of cutting back on drinking without quitting entirely. There is no one perfect solution for everyone.

Alcohol Dependency

A person is dependent on alcohol if he or she displays physical symptoms such as increased tolerance, or if he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms when without alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms include agitation, nausea, shaking, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and a painful hallucinatory syndrome known as the DT ‘s.

Contact Us

If you have been accused of drunk driving in the Dallas area and need legal assistance, Dallas DWI lawyer Mark Lassiter can help. Contact our offices at (214) 845-7007.


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