Alcohol abuse, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing the recurring use of alcoholic beverages despite its negative consequences. Alcohol abuse is sometimes referred to by the less specific term alcoholism. However, many definitions of alcoholism exist, and only some are compatible with alcohol abuse. There are two types of alcoholics: those who have anti social and pleasure-seeking tendencies, and those who are anxiety-ridden- people who are able to go without drinking for long periods of time but are unable to control themselves once they start. Binge drinking is another form of alcohol abuse. According to research done through international surveys, the heaviest drinkers happen to be the United Kingdom's adolescent generation.
When differentiating between alcohol abuse and alcoholism, one should remember that alcohol abuse is when the abuser has faced critical consequences for their actions, recently. Where an alcoholic has experienced a sense of withdrawal in the same time period.
Delirium tremens (Latin for "shaking frenzy", also referred to as The DTs, "the horrors", or "the shakes") is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol, first described in 1813. Benzodiazepines are the treatment of choice for delirium tremens (DT).
Withdrawal from sedative-hypnotics other than alcohol, such as benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, can also cause seizures, delirium tremens, and death if not properly managed. Withdrawal from other drugs that are not sedative-hypnotics such as caffeine and cocaine do not have major medical complications, and are not life-threatening. Withdrawal reactions due to physical dependence on alcohol are the most dangerous and can be fatal. They often lead to physical effects including shivering, palpitations, sweating and in some cases, convulsions and death if not treated.