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

Fun Things To Do This Weekend That Don’t Involve Alcohol

Weekends are the perfect time to unwind and have fun after a long week of work or school. However, many people associate fun activities with drinking alcohol. While there's nothing wrong with having a drink or two, it's important to remember that there are plenty of...

It’s Not About “Willpower”: The Science of Alcohol Addiction

By now, you have resolved to stop drinking countless times. You know how much it hurts your loved ones when you drink. You know that it impacts your job performance. You know that your life is at risk due to your drinking. Yet every time you say, “this is my last...

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

While there are many people who can occasionally have a drink or two without issue, for others, alcohol causes major problems in their lives. People with alcohol use disorder (AUD) struggle to control their drinking, which negatively impacts several areas of their...

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...

Getting A DUI for the First Time: What You Need to Know

It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. All states in the union take drunk driving very seriously. Colorado is no exception. Even your first offense can have severe implications. Here, we answer some of your most frequently...

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Mental Health

There is a direct correlation between alcoholism and a decrease in mental health. This is something we know and have heard many times before. However, many do not know what that exactly means and how alcoholism specifically affects the brain. With over three million...

Spending The Holiday Season Sober

‘Tis the season of holiday cheer, but for those of you living a sober lifestyle, the holidays can be a time where you’re constantly surrounded by alcohol. Holiday culture tends to have a strong emphasis on alcohol and drinking. From the spiked eggnog to the hot...

Breaking The Cycle: The Go Sober Difference

On average, those who struggle with alcohol dependence go through typical treatment about six times before they are able to fully get rid of that dependence. At Go Sober, 80% of our patients go through our program once and are then alcohol free for the rest of their...

Signs It’s Time for Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

If you suspect you need professional help for alcoholism, you aren’t alone. Every year, millions of Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD), but many will never get the help they need. This is unfortunate, because there is a biological reason for their...

First DUI Offense in Colorado: All You Need to Know

Contrary to popular belief, a first DUI offense in Colorado is not considered a traffic crime but a misdemeanor offense. For comparison, it is similar to a class 1 misdemeanor in terms of severity. If convicted, you can spend up to a year in jail, lose your license...

0 Comments

0 Comments