Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Alcohol is a common ingredient in beverages like wine, beer, and liquor. Many people are able to enjoy alcoholic drinks without over-use or abuse. Others struggle to drink in moderation. Those who suffer from alcohol addiction are usually unable to taste any alcohol without triggering an addictive response.

If a person struggles to enjoy alcohol in moderation, they may suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), more often referred to as alcoholism. AUD is destructive and debilitating for those who suffer from it and often those around them, as well.

Statistics about Alcohol Abuse Disorder and Alcoholism

The statistics surrounding AUD are overwhelming. According the the DSM-5, 5% of children 12-17 suffer from AUD and 16% of 18-29 year olds have been diagnosed. Over half of all people who seek treatment (2.5 million out of 3.9 million total) for substance abuse suffer from AUD.

Alcohol abuse is the third largest cause of death in the United States. Alcohol poisoning kills six people every day.

Factors that Contribute to Alcohol Abuse Disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are 5 primary indicators of Alcohol Abuse Disorder.

  1. Family History – Genetic factors may increase a person’s exposure or vulnerability to alcoholism. People with parents or other close relatives who suffer with alcoholism are more likely to experience AUD.
  2. Cultural and Social Influences – Spending time with people who suffer from AUD, drinking heavily on a regular basis, will increase your own risk of developing AUD. Other external influencers, like role models or entertainment, are directly linked to an increase in alcoholism.
  3. Age of First Drink – Those who begin drinking younger have a higher rate of alcoholism. Rates of AUD in 20-somethings are the highest of any age range, indicating that starting to drink in your teens can lead to AUD by your 20s.
  4. Regular Over-use of Alcohol – Those who drink more than average of a long period of time are at a high risk of developing AUD. Additionally, this kind of alcohol consumption can lead to other health problems even if AUD isn’t diagnosed.
  5. Mental Health Disorders – It’s common for those who suffer from a mental disorder like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia to develop AUD. Often, alcohol is wrongly used as a coping tool for the symptoms of these disorders. When AUD is accompanied by a contributing mental health disorder, it’s called a co-occurring disorder and treatment requires the specialized care of a Dual Diagnosis recovery center. Recovery Coast offers Dual Diagnosis care.

9 Signs of Alcoholism or Alcohol Abuse Disorder

There are many signs or signals that indicate that someone suffers from AUD or alcoholism. Some are easy to identify while others are more innocuous. Here is a list of potential behaviors and signs to look for.

  1. Trouble at work
  2. Exhibiting risky behavior, especially related to driving
  3. Experience blackouts
  4. Legal trouble
  5. You or others are hurt
  6. Financial trouble
  7. Friends and family experience stress
  8. Secret drinking or hiding alcohol
  9. Inability to quit or experiencing withdrawal when abstaining

Often, alcoholism can be self-diagnosed without the help of a doctors or behavioral therapist. If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from alcoholism, get in touch with an interventionist that can help.

About Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Disorder or Alcoholism

Alcohol Abuse Disorder, if left untreated, can begin to effect every aspect of the addicts life. It may be difficult to maintain employment if drinking before or on the job occurs. Excessive drinking will put stress on your family and friends. Taking risky actions or exhibiting risk-averse behavior may put yourself or loved ones in harms way, whether it’s driving after or while you drink or other dangerous decisions.

Treatment for AUD is accessible and highly recommended by counselors, therapists, and medical professionals. While many assume that cost of treatment is prohibitive, payment options are plentiful and allow people of all means to be able to benefit from addiction treatment options.

Options for Treatment for AUD and Alcoholism

There are a handful of options for treatment for AUD and co-occurring disorders. They range in intensity from taking courses and attending groups in your spare time to checking into a full time rehabilitation facility. What level of care you or your loved one needs is affected by many factors including cost, time, severity of the addiction, and past addiction history.

Inpatient Treatment

If your addiction is severe and you’ve exhibited a long history of addictive behavior without successful treatment, inpatient treatment may be your best option. Inpatient treatment is an immersive, 24/7 experience that removes you from triggers and opportunities to act out your addiction while replacing bad behaviors with wellness-oriented activities like therapy, physical activity, and community.

Inpatient treatment for AUD can be expensive, but most facilities accept major insurance providers for partial or full payment for your stay. If you don’t have health insurance coverage or your policy doesn’t cover inpatient addiction treatment, you have to consider your personal budget or that of your loved ones and if you can afford inpatient treatment.

The best way to learn if inpatient treatment is appropriate or affordable for you is to call one of our Admissions Specialists. They will tell you more about our alcohol addiction treatment program and help you figure out payment options.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

There are times when inpatient treatment isn’t the right fit. In those cases, we often recommend an intensive outpatient treatment program. Intensive outpatient programs can be modified to fit your needs and schedule. Many people attend an intensive outpatient program without taking much time away from work or family. In other cases, the IOP is a mixed experience with lots of time in therapy and time spent in community with other recovering addicts.

An IOP is usually considered a good option if medical detox is not required or as a post-treatment program after medical detox has been completed. The part-time intensive schedule allows for plenty of therapy and treatment experience with minimal interruption to your day-to-day life.

Outpatient Treatment

In situations where your addiction is in post-treatment or you have a record of success in overcoming addiction, an outpatient treatment program can be helpful. Outpatient treatment is characterized by evenings or weekends spent in active treatment, or time during the week, often during lunch break from work.

Treatment options usually include 12-step programs, 1-on-1 psychotherapy with a counselor, or group counseling. Group counseling at Recovery Coast is intentionally small for the sake of safety and healthy conversation.

You can read more about the 12-step program at Recovery Coast here.