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What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

construction worker looking ill and leaning against a boiler wondering what is alcohol use disorder and do i have it

Alcohol use in the United States is common. Partly, this is because alcohol is legal and socially acceptable. Plenty of Americans, and residents of Massachusetts, enjoy alcohol responsibly. Unfortunately, many people do not, and treating alcohol abuse at a professional facility is necessary for people caught in the cycle of alcohol addiction. Luckily for those struggling with alcohol, Swift River offers alcohol addiction treatment in Pittsfield.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease marked by a person’s compulsive alcohol use, loss of control of alcohol consumption, and negative emotional state when not using alcohol. AUD is classified as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of symptoms a person has. Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of alcohol use disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, reach out to Swift River at 888.451.5895.

Alcoholism, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Alcohol Abuse: What’s the Difference?

The terminology when discussing people who have a problem with drinking alcohol often changes and even overlaps. Sometimes, these terms are altered to be more accurate or more polite, and in some cases, they are specific medical diagnoses. Whatever term is used, the person referenced has a drinking problem – it’s just a question of to what extent?

  • Alcoholism is a term used to define alcohol addiction (physical dependence), a disease in which a person has very little to no control over their drinking.
  • A person struggling with alcohol use disorder isn’t necessarily addicted to alcohol, but it still causes many difficulties with their ability to function at work, school, and home.
  • Alcohol abuse is a more general term often used to describe any person who misuses alcohol.

The truth is that alcohol use disorder can happen to anyone, regardless of race, religion, mental health, gender, income, or education.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol is widely accepted, but it’s still a drug. Like other drugs, it can be used inappropriately or irresponsibly. A person struggling with alcohol use disorder may try to keep their drinking a secret or make excuses to drink at inappropriate times. Not every person with AUD will show all the signs and symptoms of the disorder.

The 11 symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  1. Inability to control the amount of alcohol a person drinks
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop drinking but not being able to
  3. Spending a lot of time drinking, seeking alcohol, or overcoming the effects of alcohol
  4. Feeling a strong craving for alcohol or a strong need or urge to drink
  5. Recurrent alcohol use has resulted in a failure to meet obligations at work, school, or home
  6. Continuing to drink, even though it causes relationship problems
  7. Giving up or cutting back on activities in order to drink
  8. Getting into potentially dangerous situations as a result of drinking alcohol
  9. Continuing to drink even though it causes depression or anxiety, adds to another health problem, or after having a blackout
  10. Increased alcohol tolerance—having to drink much more than previously to get the desired effect or finding that the usual number of drinks has much less effect
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, nausea, sweating, or shaking as the alcohol wears off

The severity of a person’s alcohol use disorder is based on the number of symptoms they experience. A mild AUD is the presence of two to three symptoms. A moderate alcohol use disorder is the presence of four to five symptoms. A severe alcohol use disorder is the presence of six or more symptoms.

Even a person struggling with a moderate alcohol use disorder risks spiraling out of control and becoming more severe. Knowing the signs of AUD may help people persuade friends or loved ones to get treatment at a facility like Swift River. Call 888.451.5895 to learn how we can help you regain a life of sobriety.

Contact Swift River – Massachusetts for Help with Alcohol Use Disorder

A person suffering from alcohol use disorder may have a very hard time quitting drinking without treatment. During the early stages of alcohol treatment, medically-assisted detoxification helps an individual overcome their physical addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol use disorder is a disease of the body, mind, and spirit. Medical detox is merely the first step to overcoming alcohol use disorder. Most people’s experience with overcoming alcohol will differ, but the first step is often admitting that there is a problem.

An individualized approach treats alcohol use disorder as it applies to each person. The trusted professionals at Swift River understand alcohol use disorder and the treatment required to beat it. Reach out now by calling 888.451.5895 or connect with us online to learn more.

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