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 lives.

Definition of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder refers to a pattern of unhealthy behavior related to alcohol consumption. People with AUD have difficulty controlling their drinking, are preoccupied with alcohol, use alcohol despite the problems it causes in their lives, have built a tolerance to alcohol, and go through withdrawal when they stop drinking alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) is the handbook used by medical professionals to diagnose mental health conditions. According to the DSM-5, AUD is indicated by the presence of two or more of these symptoms within a 12-month window:

  • Drinking more than intended or for longer than intended
  • Trying to cut down or quit drinking, but not being able to
  • Spending a lot of time doing activities that revolve around alcohol — obtaining it, consuming it, and recovering from using it
  • Frequently craving alcohol or feeling a strong desire to drink
  • Alcohol use that repeatedly causes issues at work, school, and home
  • Alcohol use despite recurring interpersonal issues caused by the effects of drinking
  • Giving up or cutting back on important activities due to alcohol use
  • Repeatedly using alcohol in hazardous situations
  • Using alcohol despite its known impact on a physical or psychological issue
  • Alcohol tolerance, meaning either a need for more alcohol to achieve desired level of intoxication or a diminished effect when drinking the same amount of alcohol
  • Alcohol withdrawal, meaning when you cut back on how much you drink, you experience symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, headache, sweating, anxiety, and insomnia

Do I Have Alcohol Use Disorder?

A medical professional can assess whether or not you meet the diagnostic criteria for AUD, but if you identify with two or more of the symptoms listed above, it may indicate that your drinking is a cause of concern. It may seem like a dire situation, but ultimately, AUD is treatable, and the sooner you consult with an addiction specialist, the better your chances are for going soberHow Our Alcohol Treatment Center in Denver Can Help

At Go Sober, we use a scientific approach to alcohol treatment. People with alcohol use disorder often blame themselves, believing that there is something inherently wrong with them because they can’t resist the urge to drink. In reality, there is a valid, biological reason why they struggle to go sober. It doesn’t matter how much they want to quit; long-term, excessive alcohol consumption changes their brain chemistry, creating a diagnosable medical condition. That is why we use a comprehensive, scientific approach to alcohol use disorder. With a combination of medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and a supportive community in an intensive outpatient program, we are able to work with your life to change your life.

You don’t have to be defined by your alcohol addiction. Contact our outpatient alcohol treatment center in Denver for a free hour-long consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction specialists. During this confidential, no-obligation meeting, you have a safe space where you can be specific about your struggles with alcohol. In response to your honesty, we will give you candid advice about the best course of treatment for you and how you can stop drinking forever. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today.


Mayo Clinic
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
American Psychological Association

More From This Category

How Can I Stop Drinking?

When you’re addicted to alcohol, you feel hopeless. You want to quit drinking but it seems impossible. You have tried to stop before, but inevitably, you end up picking up the bottle again. This can make you feel like a complete failure. The truth is, it isn’t your...

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...

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...

Navigating the Storm: The Impact of Alcohol Use Disorder on Families and the Path to Healing

Living with a loved one who struggles with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is like navigating a relentless storm. The effects are far-reaching, touching every aspect of family life and leaving a trail of emotional, financial, and relational challenges in its wake. As...

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...

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...

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...

The Life-Threatening Dangers of Alcohol

From the years of 1999 to 2017, there have been almost one million people who have died from alcohol-related incidents or causes. This statement is shocking and may even cause you to take a step back and evaluate your own choices when it comes to alcohol. There have...

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...

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...