What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Posted by Care Addiction Center on March 29th, 2022

An individual with alcohol use disorder (AUD) has uncontrolled drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, and a willingness to continue to use alcohol despite negative consequences. AUD can also be referred to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, or alcoholism.

Moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful to most adults. For women, moderate use means no more than one drink per day and for men, no more than two per day.

A drinking problem can arise when an individual shows signs of dependence on alcohol. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 14.5 million Americans have AUD.

Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms

Depending on the number of symptoms experienced, alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe. Nevertheless, even mild disorders can aggravate and lead to serious complications, so early treatment is essential. AUD symptoms include:

  • Isolating to drink alone.
  • Missing obligations to drink.
  • Attitude changes (ie., violent behavior while intoxicated).
  • Risky behaviors (ie., drinking and driving, promiscuity).
  • Legal issues (ie., DUI, domestic violence).
  • Concerned loved ones, estrangement of family members caused by substance use.
  • Black outs.
  • Binge drinking.
  • Alcohol poisoning, hospitalization attributed to alcohol consumption.
  • Minimization of use and denial.
  • Frequent hangovers.

According to recent studies, substance abuse is not an easy choice, because a person\'s brain chemistry changes after consuming alcohol for many months or years, so stopping drinking is not possible in just one day. People who are addicted to certain substances shouldn\'t stop cold-turkey because detox can be fatal.

When To Seek Treatment

Drinking alcohol does not automatically make you an alcoholic. How do you know when you need help? Alcohol addiction is often best described by the four C\'s of addiction: compulsion, craving, consequences, and control.

Health care professionals use the criteria for an alcohol use disorder published by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to diagnose AUD.

If a person believes they are experiencing signs of alcohol use disorder, they should seek advice from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. There are many forms of substance abuse treatment catered to helping individuals struggling with alcohol related problems.

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Care Addiction Center
Joined: October 14th, 2020
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