Alcohol Use Disorder, commonly referred to as AUD, is a medical problem and mental disorder described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a compulsive inability to curb drinking even when it’s causing negative consequences in one’s life. AUD is described in every major medical manual in every occupied country on earth.
How to Identify Alcoholism
Harmful alcohol use is responsible for 1 in 20 deaths worldwide. Eleven defining factors help diagnose AUD and separate it from alcohol misuse and simple dependency. If you or someone you know suspects a problem with alcohol, you can find out if you need help. An affirmative answer to two to three of these questions indicates mild alcoholism. Four to five “yes” answers indicate moderate alcoholism, and six or more positive answers are a warning of severe alcoholism.
In the last 12 months have you:
- Drank more or longer than you intended?
- Had to cut back on your drinking or tried to cut back and couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking or recovering from hangovers?
- Noticed that hangovers or drinking has interfered with taking care of your responsibilities at work, home, or school?
- Had intense cravings for alcohol or had compulsive thoughts about drinking?
- Kept drinking even though it’s caused problems with friends, in romantic relationships, or with your family?
- Cut back on activities that once took priority in favor of drinking?
- Participated in activities while or after drinking that put you or your peers in danger?
- Kept drinking even when it makes you feel sick, lethargic, depressed, moody, anxious, paranoid, etc.? Have you ever blacked out after drinking?
- Noticed it takes more alcohol to get the same feeling you once had with just a few drinks? Or is your usual number of drinks not affecting you as much?
- Noticed that as you sober up, you have withdrawal symptoms, like feeling sick, tremors, insomnia, restlessness, feeling sick, sweating, rapid heart rate, or seizures? Have you ever felt like something was there that isn’t?
AUD and Comorbidities
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the harmful use of alcohol can cause lasting changes to the brain that make cessation very difficult. These changes lead to compulsive behaviors, like uncontrolled drinking and obsessive thoughts about alcohol. While in the depths of the addiction cycle, it can be nearly impossible to get sober without intervention from peers or medical professionals.
AUD is a mental disorder. Without care from a team of therapists, the chance of relapsing is high. Addressing mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, etc., is an important part of getting sober. The prevalence of mental disorders in people with alcoholism is very high. Many people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate, and that medical use escalates into addiction. Treatment is vital to maintaining sobriety.
In addition to treatment for medical disorders, it’s wise to address physical illnesses. Chronic illness increases the risk of addictions. It’s important to be honest with your general practitioner and address chronic diseases head-on. Your doctor can prescribe medications and get your symptoms under control. They can additionally get you into a detox program, and you can attend Topsail Addiction Treatment programs after that.
Alcoholism Quickly Spirals Out of Control
Catching AUD early is very helpful in the treatment of the disease. Whether alcohol use began as medicinal or social, it can quickly get out of hand. From the beginning of mild AUD, it can worsen into later stages within months. If you or a loved one sense AUD forming, get help right away.
If you’re battling out-of-control AUD, you need to get help as soon as possible. Untreated addiction only gets worse. It can cause multiple diseases that can take your life, not to mention the risks of death by alcohol poisoning. You can save your own life by getting into rehab.
When you’re ready to get your addiction under control, reach out to us for help. Topsail Addiction Treatment has a center in Andover, Massachusetts where you can find behavioral therapies and peer support to help halt the progression of addiction.
If you live in Melrose, Massachusetts, we have an alcohol rehab treatment program in nearby Andover that can help stop the cycle of addiction. Alcoholism is a common disease, and one of the aspects that make alcohol cessation so difficult is the social acceptance of it. It seems like everyone drinks, and nobody cares about it. AUD is very common, with about 5.3% of the population, or 15 million adult Americans, living with it.
Because alcoholism is so prevalent in America, it’s been studied in depth by a multitude of doctors and scientists. New treatments for the disease are being developed, and it’s never been a better time to get sober. Topsail Addiction Treatment in Andover, Massachusetts has a full staff of caring professionals who are very knowledgeable in their field. We offer Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), and Outpatient Programs (OP) to help you maintain sobriety.
We know how exhausting a lifelong battle with AUD can be, and we’re ready to equip you and your support system with the tools you need to succeed. Call us today to get started.