In a society where alcohol is used to commemorate, celebrate, or conversate, it can be difficult to identify when casual drinking becomes an alcohol use disorder. Understanding how to determine when alcohol use has spun out of control is necessary in order to initiate a path of healing and treatment for you or your loved one.

Definition of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

alcohol use disorder first step centerThe National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcohol use disorder as a “chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”

Despite its legality, alcohol is one of the most dangerous addictive substances effecting Americans aged 12 and older. As a depressant, alcohol is both psychologically and physically addictive, which means that when a person quits cold turkey, he will suffer withdrawal symptoms relative to the severity of his addiction. In some cases, when not appropriately treated, withdrawals from alcohol can have fatal consequences.

The NIAAA reported these statistics based on a 2015 study:

  • An estimated 16 million people in the United States had AUD
  • Approximately 6.2 percent or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2015 (9.8 million men and 5.3 million women)
  • An estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Similar to other substance abuse disorders, an alcohol use disorder will eventually hijack a person’s life and become the central focus of every waking hour.

Other symptoms of AUD, as described by the NIAAA, include:

  • Drinking more or longer than you intended
  • More than once wanted to cut down or quit drinking but couldn’t
  • Spent a lot of time drinking
  • Got sick and/or spent an ample amount of time getting over a hangover
  • Experience strong cravings to drink
  • Drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interferes with taking care of responsibilities related to work, family, or school
  • Continuing to drink despite adverse effects
  • Withdrawing from once-loved activities 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 unsafe sex)
  • Continued to drink even though it was exacerbating depression, anxiety, or other illness
  • Blacking out
  • Need to drink much more than you used to in order to achieve the desired effect

In the absence of alcohol, experience withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, shakiness “the shakes”, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating

Finding treatment

Alcohol use disorder is a serious illness that poses potential life-threatening effects. In order to recover from AUD, finding a treatment center that offers a variety of therapeutic services is critical. At First Step Center of Arizona, our team of addiction specialists provide individualized care for each client. With only 10 beds, our all-male clientele benefit from receiving a personalized treatment program tailored to meet specified needs.

We offer programs and therapies like:

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need from an alcohol addiction treatment program. No one need live a life in darkness. First Step Center understands this sentiment and believes in offering integrated treatment that offers a holistic method in helping you or a loved one get well. To find out more about alcohol use disorder treatment, call us now at 866.832.6398.