Alcohol is one of our country’s most preventable causes of death today. It is estimated that about 15 million people in the United States are affected by an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The term “alcohol use disorder” is used to describe alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. AUD is put into classifications, mild, moderate, or severe.
“Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”
What are the Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder?
When a person’s drinking causes harm or distress, physicians usually diagnose it as an alcohol use disorder. Sometimes individuals see mild signs that they don’t really describe as problem drinking. However, this can be the beginning of the AUD.
Some of the common signs of alcohol abuse include:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Choosing to drink over other activities or responsibilities
- Making excuses for drinking
- Becoming isolated from family and friends
- Having blackouts or temporary memory loss while drinking
- Drinking in secrecy
There are many other signs of alcohol use disorder. So, the main thing to consider is if the person’s lifestyle has changed. Do they not enjoy or participate in activities that they once did because they don’t involve drinking? This is a sign of a big problem with alcohol.
Other major problems of alcohol abuse include taking chances while drinking such as driving while intoxicated or participating in other dangerous activities while drinking. If a person starts showing signs of withdrawal when not drinking, this is another red flag. Having to have a drink first thing in the morning to get over a hangover from drinking is another sign of major problem drinking.
Is Alcohol Use Disorder the Same as Alcoholism?
As mentioned before, physicians categorize alcohol use disorder as mild, moderate, or severe. The medical profession does not use the term alcoholism today. You might hear other people call someone an alcoholic or say that they are struggling with alcoholism. If a person shows severe consequences from drinking alcohol, they are said to have a severe alcohol use disorder.
Do You Think You are Dependent on Alcohol?
If you are wondering if you have a problem with drinking alcohol, there are some questions you can ask yourself such as do you crave alcohol when not drinking. Are you not able to concentrate on other things because of thinking about drinking? Do you have problems holding down a job because of drinking? Do you have relationship problems because of your drinking? The list goes on and on.
Other problems which we have not discussed here are physical problems. Does drinking alcohol cause you physical problems? Some of the physical signs of alcohol use disorder are insomnia, headaches, and stomach problems. Many individuals experience physical problems from falls while intoxicated such as broken bones, cuts, or severe bruising. After years of abusing alcohol people will develop cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatic cancer, and many other cancers all caused by alcohol abuse.
Seek Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
If you are struggling with problems caused by abusing alcohol, seek help from a reputable addiction treatment facility. The representatives at New Beginnings can help you develop a treatment plan that will fit your individual needs. Contact one of our representatives today. They can answer any questions you may have about a treatment program for your needs.
Niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol Use Disorder