Alcohol addiction, also called alcoholism, alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependence, is a serious and chronic disease that gets worse over time without treatment. Alcoholics struggle to control their drinking and often binge on alcohol. They are constantly preoccupied with getting a drink. They keep drinking in spite of legal, financial, personal and health problems caused by alcohol.
Some people abuse alcohol without being addicted to it. This means that a person may exhibit some of the signs of alcoholism, but not enough to warrant a diagnosis. Abusing alcohol is a serious problem because it can cause problems and can lead to alcoholism if the behaviors continue and escalate.