Understanding Alcohol Addiction and Alcohol Use Disorder
When Casual Drinking Turns Into a Problem, It’s Time to Get Help
Alcohol is the most widely abused substance across the nation due to its ease of accessibility and for the simple fact that abusing it can often go unnoticed. It’s easy to mistake alcohol abuse because many social activities are revolved around drinking. It’s when this casual and social occasion begins to occur too often that alcohol use disorder may arise.
Types of Drinkers
- Social Drinkers: These individuals are at low risk of developing an alcohol use disorder as they reserve their alcohol consumption in mainly social settings. They also have the ability to know when to quit and they can also easily control their drinking; they know their limits. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that females who are social and ‘low risk’ drinkers drink no more than three drinks per social outing while males drink no more than 4 drinks per social outing.
- Problem Drinkers: Many people experience a period of ‘problem drinking’ which typically occurs during the college years. Problem drinkers can usually get a hold of their bad habit once a serious life event occurs such as graduating college, having a baby, or starting a new job. They have the ability to ‘self-correct’ their drinking, unlike an alcoholic who simply cannot.
Defining Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined as a dependence on alcohol and the inability to control one’s drinking habits. Unfortunetly, this disorder often goes untreated as individuals fail to seek help for their alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse and misuse is a disorder that is at epidemic proportions across the United States with many individuals binge drinking all too often. AUD is considered a mental health disorder due to the fact that it has negative consequences on one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. With the help of addiction treatment, patients regain control of their lives and learn how to cope with a life that is free from alcohol and substance abuse.
Here are some symptoms of alcohol use disorder:
- Consuming larger amounts of alcohol in a short period of time
- Wanting to give up alcohol but are unsuccessful
- Craving a drink at any given time
- Continuing to abuse alcohol even though it has negatively affected your personal relationships
- You consistently call into work ‘sick’ due to the effects of alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not being consumed
If you or someone you know is showing signs of AUD, it may be time to consider treatment.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If you suffer from alcohol addiction, there are a number of treatment and therapy options available that can help you make a full recovery. Some of these are :
- Counseling: Family counseling, behavioral therapy, support groups, family therapy
- Medical: Detox, anti-craving drugs, withdrawal management
- Self-Care: Remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol
- Clinical Specialists: Meeting with a psychologist or a psychiatrist weekly
Alcohol abuse does not boil down to how much willpower you have. This type of disorder requires the professional help of counselors and treatment in order to successfully rebound from.
When to Seek Medical Help
It can be tricky to decide whether or not you truly require help for your alcohol consumption. If you feel and genuinely know that you drink too much, you need to seek medical help. If your alcohol consumption is causing conflicts with your spouse, friends, and loved ones, that is a sign that help is needed.
It’s important that you listen to loved ones when they tell you that you have a drinking problem as many times, heavy drinkers are in denial about their drinking problem. Consider seeking help from a treatment center, support groups, as well as various self-help groups.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.