Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition diagnosed by doctors when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol abuse, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state for the patient when he or she is not drinking. In the United States, about 17 million people are afflicted with alcohol use disorder.
Dangers of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol abuse increases one’s chances of being injured or even killed. Alcohol is a factor in about:
- 60 percent of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides
- 50 percent of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults
- 40 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and fatal falls
Alcohol abuse can also cause a number of health problems which include liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, and stomach bleeding, as well as cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum. Additionally, alcohol can contribute to difficulty in managing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, and sleep disorders.
Signs of Addiction
A few mild symptoms – which might not always be regarded as trouble signs – can signal the start of alcohol abuse. Doctors diagnose alcohol use disorder when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm.
To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet from two-to-eleven of the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The severity of AUD (mild, moderate, or severe) is based on how many signs of addiction are noted.
- Drinking more, or longer, than intended.
- Desires to cut down or stop drinking, but not being able to.
- Much time spent drinking, being sick, or getting over the aftereffects of drinking.
- Cravings, strong needs, or urges to drink.
- Drinking, or being sick from drinking, and its interference with taking care of home or family or causing problems on the job or at school.
- Continued drinking even though it is causing trouble with family or friends.
- Eliminating or reducing important or interesting activities in order to drink.
- Experiencing situations while or after drinking that increase chances of getting hurt (e.g., driving, swimming, having unsafe sex).
- Continuing to drink even though it can lead to depression, anxiety, or contributes to another health problem.
- Needing to drink much more than in the past to achieve a desired effect, or noticing a much higher tolerance for alcohol.
- Experiencing the effects of alcohol withdrawal, such as insomnia, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options
You may think there are only two places to get help for alcohol abuse problems: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a long-term residential rehab program. But there are many other options, such as professionally-led outpatient treatment which use evidenced-based medicine that can help alcoholics achieve lasting recovery while still living at home. The alcohol addiction treatment regimen offered by Victory Recovery Partners (VRP) includes:
- Medication-assisted treatment administered by VRP physicians, physician assistants, and psychiatrists and includes prescriptions for Buprenorphine/Suboxone.
- Frequent individual or group counseling sessions led by VRP’s seasoned addiction professionals.
- Family therapy to build a supportive foundation for recovery.
Learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program: