Many people don’t realize that they have a troubled relationship with alcohol until something happens that forces them to face reality. They lose their job, face DUI charges, or a significant relationship falls apart. Suddenly, they can’t deny the impact alcohol has had on their life and wellbeing.

Alcohol addiction can sneak up on you. It starts with occasional social drinking, but can quickly escalate to problematic behavior and eventually dependence. It’s also often overlooked in our culture — research suggests that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is among the least treated in the U.S. It’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs for yourself so you can get the help you need before it’s too late.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

If you question whether or not you would meet the diagnosis criteria for alcohol use disorder, you’re not alone. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that an estimated 17 million people have a diagnosable alcohol use disorder.

While no two people with alcohol addiction will have the exact same set of symptoms, the disorder is characterized by a preoccupation with and compulsive use of alcohol. There are also 11 recognized symptoms of alcohol use disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-5 (DSM-5).

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

In order to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, an individual must have demonstrated at least two of the following symptoms in the last year. Two or three symptoms would indicate mild alcohol use disorder, four to five would indicate moderate alcohol use disorder, and six or more would indicate severe alcohol use disorder.

  1. Frequent alcohol consumption in large amounts and over a longer period than intended.
  2. There are many attempts to cut down on alcohol use without success.
  3. Experiencing a strong, persistent craving for alcohol.
  4. Recurrent alcohol use that results in a failure to fulfill a certain role, whether at work, school, or home.
  5. Spending a lot of time on obtaining, consuming, and recovering from alcohol.
  6. Alcohol use continues despite having physical or psychological problems that are exacerbated by alcohol.
  7. A need to consume increased amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effect (tolerance).
  8. Reducing or entirely giving up important activities due to alcohol use.
  9. Recurrent alcohol use that causes physical danger.
  10. Alcohol use that continues despite a negative social impact.
  11. Experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when drinking stops, or needing to drink to offset withdrawal symptoms.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Alcohol use disorder can start with a couple of mild symptoms and escalate quickly. If you’re not sure whether or not your alcohol use is truly problematic, consider the following questions:

  • In the last year, have you ended up drinking for more or longer than you intended?
  • Have you tried to cut back on drinking and haven’t been able to? Has this happened more than once?
  • Have you ever been a situation when drinking put you in a dangerous situation (i.e. driving while drunk, going to a dangerous place, or having unprotected sex)?
  • Have you found that you need to drink more to achieve the same effect? Does your usual number of drinks not have the same impact as it used to?
  • Do you drink even though you have noticed that it makes you depressed or anxious? Do you drink even though you have a physical health problem that is aggravated by alcohol?
  • Have you ever blacked out from drinking?
  • Do you drink even though your friends or family have expressed concerns about your drinking?
  • Has drinking ever interfered with your ability to take care of your home or family? Do you have trouble at your job or school due to your drinking?
  • Have you significantly cut back on or stopped doing an activity that used to mean a lot to you because of your drinking?
  • Have you ever had legal problems due to your drinking?
  • Have you ever experienced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when you stopped drinking, such as difficulty sleeping, restlessness, nausea, racing heart, or sweating?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may want to speak with one of our specialists at our alcohol treatment center in Denver. Through this free consultation, we can help you assess whether you would benefit from our medically based, outpatient treatment program. Contact us today.

Sources

Mayo Clinic

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Institute of Health

More From This Category

New Year, Better You

While we’re already a few weeks into the new year of 2020 and you may have skipped out on your resolution to hit the gym more, keep your resolution of living a sober life with Go Sober. Many times, people don’t end up following through with their new year's...

Top 10 Reasons To Go Sober

Going sober means abstaining from drinking alcohol, and it can have many benefits. Here are the top 10 reasons to Go Sober: Improved physical health: Alcohol can have negative effects on your body, including weight gain, liver damage, and increased risk of cancer....

Depression and Alcohol

While it probably won’t hurt to have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner occasionally, turning to alcohol in order to get through your day could be a sign of a more serious problem. Alcohol use, and abuse have continued to have a strong link to depression. Nearly...

What Makes Go Sober Different: Words We Don’t Like To Use

Go Sober is unlike any other alcohol treatment program you’ve ever seen before. Due to our unique setup, we’ve become highly successful at helping people say goodbye to alcohol forever. Here at Go Sober, we’re changing the game when it comes to alcohol treatment,...

Why Can’t I Stop Drinking?

You have tried to quit before, but it never seems to stick. You may go a few days or even a couple of weeks without drinking, but inevitably, you pick up the bottle again. You may feel overwhelmed with anxiety, or even have physical symptoms that make it difficult to...

Mindfulness and Meditation: Enhancing Life Without Alcohol

In the journey towards sobriety and maintaining an alcohol-free lifestyle, individuals often seek tools that can help manage cravings, reduce stress, and foster a deeper sense of well-being. Mindfulness and meditation have emerged as powerful practices in this...

The Brain and Addiction

The term “addiction”is derived from the Latin term meaning “enslaved by” or “bound to”. It is not a character or personality flaw that occurs in people, which is how it was traditionally seen as and still can be seen as that. However, we need to look at addiction as a...

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Many people don’t realize that they have a troubled relationship with alcohol until something happens that forces them to face reality. They lose their job, face DUI charges, or a significant relationship falls apart. Suddenly, they can’t deny the impact alcohol has...

How To Know If You Have Alcohol Use Disorder

In our last blog, we discussed what alcohol use disorder, or alcohol dependence, is and what some of the signs are. We are going to continue with this topic, but in this blog, we will be going over what questions you can ask yourself or a loved one to figure out if...

Life Gets Better When You’re Sober

It can seem impossible to imagine a life without alcohol when you’ve been living in a life where alcohol is at the center of your world. You’ve said it so many times before, “This is my last drink”, but sadly that is not usually the case. If you’ve been looking for an...

0 Comments

0 Comments