Using alcohol on its own isn’t a problem for most adults. However, alcohol abuse is definitely a concern. The overall term for problem drinking is known as alcohol use disorder or AUD. Take a closer look at what it means to have AUD, the symptoms of the disorder, its causes and how The Hills Treatment Center can help you or a loved one overcome it.
Defining Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder is a wide, umbrella term that covers anyone who drinks heavily and in an unhealthy way. Alcohol abuse doesn’t necessarily mean a person has an addiction. However, alcohol addiction does fall under the overall category of alcohol use disorders.
In order for someone to receive an AUD diagnosis, individuals need to meet at least two of the 11 criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM classifies those with AUD as having a mild, moderate or severe case.
Ultimately, professionals don’t determine AUD severity by volume or even frequency of alcohol consumption. Instead, it’s about the reasons for drinking so excessively. It also means drinking despite negative consequences, something that often signals a dependence or full-blown alcoholism.
By some estimates, more than 17 million people in the United States struggle with an alcohol use or abuse disorder. This represents more than 7% of the total adult population. Clearly, this is not an isolated condition, and in can impact millions.
Recognizing the Signs of AUD
There are a number of different signs that can point to an alcohol consumption disorder. Recognizing just one or two signs might be a warning, but spotting more than that is a clear indication that you or someone you care about need help.
Some of the signs of an AUD include the following:
- Drinking more or more frequently than planned
- Experiencing a strong craving for alcohol
- Drinking even though it causes problems for your loved ones
- Getting into risky situations because of excessive drinking
- Letting drinking interfere with work, school or other responsibilities
- Drinking even though it worsens health
- Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink
The Development of an Alcohol Abuse Disorder
AUDs can develop for a number of reasons. Ultimately, each patient is different. It takes a combination of factors to result in an AUD. However it comes to be, treatment and diagnosis often follow a similar pattern.
First and foremost, consumption of alcohol causes the development of an AUD. Obviously, it’s impossible to develop AUD without first drinking alcohol in some form. That’s why it is so important to prevent young people from drinking before they’re ready to face the consequences of overconsumption.
AUD can also be partially the result of genetics. There’s significant research pointing to a hereditary factor. This means that some people have an increased risk of developing an AUD. These individuals might need to moderate their drinking or even practice complete sobriety.
An AUD can also develop as a result of a mental health issue. It’s common for those struggling with mental illness, for example, to turn to alcohol. However, self-medication with alcohol is never the answer. Instead, both disorders require treatment.
Treatment for AUD at The Hills Treatment Center
Once patients develop an AUD, they need to begin a treatment plan for recovery. At The Hills Treatment Center, it’s possible to overcome an AUD and get on track for better health.
Treatment may include any or all of the following:
- Onsite detox
- Group counseling
- Individual therapy
- Dual diagnosis care
- Sober living and aftercare options
- Fitness therapies
Alcohol use disorders are more common than you may realize. Fortunately, The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California, is a place where treatment is possible. Call 844-915-0287 to begin your road to recovery today