Alcohol is commonly abused for many reasons but largely due to extensive cultural and societal expectations. For this reason, many people find themselves wrestling with alcohol addiction, also known as Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Alcohol rehab facilities aim to address the underlying conditions associated with addiction.
There are additional factors that may contribute to alcohol abuse disorder aside from psychological dependence. Genetic predisposition, mental health conditions, and traumatic experiences can all play a part in a person’s risk for developing AUD. For these reasons, it is apparent why sustained recovery from AUD can be so difficult to achieve and maintain.
According to a national survey posted by NIAAA, there were over 14 million adults (18+) and more than 400,000 youth (age 12-17) who have AUD as of 2019. After accounting for increased use during the Covid-19 pandemic this number has only grown, and alcohol-related causes continue to be one of the leading types of preventable death in the United States. Withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening when the individual has been using heavily for extended periods of time. Medical intervention may be necessary and stopping should not be attempted without professional help.
Here are some questions from the DSM-5, which is used by medical professionals to see if patients meet criteria for AUD.
You may want to ask yourself if you identify with any of these scenarios as you consider treatment:
Do you consistently struggle to stop yourself from drinking more than you intended?
Have you more than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking but could not?
Spent a lot of time drinking, getting sick from drinking too much or the aftereffects prevented you from participating in important aspects of your life?
Wanted a drink so badly you could not think of anything else?
Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home, family interfered with your job or education?
Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unprotected sex)?
Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed, anxious or adding to another health problem? Have you experienced memory blackouts from drinking too much?
Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure?
Additionally, do you ever find yourself:
Drinking alone or in secrecy?
Drinking at unlikely times (early in the morning, beginning of your day, etc.) or before tasks that you should otherwise do sober?
Drinking instead of spending time with loved ones, doing your job, or handling responsibilities?
Experiencing mood swings, extreme irritability, memory loss or other irregular behaviors?
Exhibiting classic physical signs of alcoholism such as slurring speech, poor balance, eyes or skin that are discolored yellow, consistently smells of alcohol, or constantly reddened face/nose?
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder and seek further consultation, contact us to help you navigate your way through recovery.