There is no one single answer for alcohol abuse. When a person drinks too much s/he may be abusing alcohol. The effects of alcohol vary depending upon one’s gender, age, health, and family history. Sometimes a person may abuse alcohol but not cross the line into addiction. Alcohol abuse happens when a person regularly indulges in alcohol and suffers from negative consequences as a result. If a person is able to stop drinking without withdrawal symptoms, s/he may be suffering from alcohol abuse but not addiction.