According to the 2020National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 14.5 million Americans ages 12or to older had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2019 alone. As if that weren’t enough, less than 10 percent of these individuals seek professional help to combat this type of substance use disorder.
It’s not always easy to know when one’s pattern of drinking has crossed the line – from moderate or social drinking to AUD. After all, drinking is common in many cultures, and its effects can vary widely from person to person. So, what exactly is alcohol use disorder and how do you know if someone has it?
In this blog post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of AUD as well as its risk factors.
Defining Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder, informally referred to as alcoholism, is a medical condition that renders a person unable to control how much alcohol is consumed and how often.
If a person’s pattern of drinking has caused them the following problems, they likely have alcohol use disorder:
- Physical symptoms of withdrawal during periods of abstinence, including shakiness, nausea, sweating, hallucinations, and vomiting
- Lying to others about drinking
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to curtail or stop drinking
- Drinking alcohol even in situations when it’s not safe (e.g., driving, operating machinery, taking medications, etc.)
- Continuing to drink despite its repercussions on physical health, job performance/stability, and relationships
- Getting arrested for drunk driving or disorderly conduct
- Alcohol tolerance – When a person drinks too much alcohol on a regular basis, the body adapts and experiences fewer effects from the same amount. This causes a person to need more to achieve the same euphoric effect.
Why Do Some People Get Addicted to Alcohol but Not Others?
While not everyone who drinks alcohol gets addicted to it, there are those that get trapped in the vicious cycle.
Alcohol use disorder is a multifaceted problem that is triggered by genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors, as mentioned below:
- Beginning alcohol consumption at an early age
- An extended period of heavy drinking
- Social factors (i.e., peer pressure and the desire to “fit in”)
- History of emotional trauma
- Always experiencing a high level of stress
- Family history – having a parent or a close relative with the same problem
- Mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder)
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Near Me in Richmond, VA
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be dealing with alcohol use disorder, don’t wait any longer. Don’t think you can rely on your own willpower to kick this potentially fatal habit. If you live in Richmond, Martinsville, or Danville, Virginia, seek the care of one of our highly qualified and empathetic providers here at Epic Health Partners.
We offer Addiction Recovery and Treatment Services (ARTS) – an outpatient-based program aimed at providing patients with evidence-based interventions to help them achieve and maintain sobriety. Our program includes individual, family, and group counseling; intensive therapy; and psychoeducation, through which we help patients identify triggers or negative emotions and implement new behaviors conducive to a happy, healthy, and productive life in recovery.