So am I an alcoholic or do I have an alcohol use disorder?
If you think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, there are a few questions you can answer and find out what medical experts know regarding substance use disorder, formally known as alcoholism and drug addiction.
New research has found that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is an often untreated epidemic in the United States. Do you have an alcohol use disorder? There are 11 symptoms you should understand.
Globally, alcohol use disorder is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders and leading causes of sickness and death. In the United States, alcohol use disorders and binge drinking have increased in recent years. Unfortunately, only 19.8 percent of adults with a lifetime alcohol use disorder ever seek treatment or ask for help.
The skyrocketing increase in alcohol consumption by American women is considered to be the driving force behind the nationwide escalation of binge drinking. Across the nation, binge drinking among women increased more than seven times the rate among men.
So how is alcohol use disorder diagnosed?
There is a book used in the medical community called the “DSM-5”, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) for diagnosing alcohol use disorder. Read the following symptoms and note any you have experienced over the past 12 months. You might be surprised what you learn.
The Eleven Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
Craving or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol or b) Alcohol is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The presence of at least 2 of these symptoms indicates an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The severity of an AUD is graded mild, moderate, or severe:
Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms.
Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms.
Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms.
Conclusion: If You Meet 2 of the 11 Criteria for AUD, Reach Out and Ask for Help
Alcohol abuse has the potential to destroy people’s lives. Hopefully, raising awareness of the eleven symptoms for diagnosing alcohol use disorders will lead more individuals to seek help if they have two or more of the eleven symptoms listed above. Please remember alcohol and substance use disorders are not a sin or a nasty habit or a moral issue… substance use disorder is a disease. Help is as close as your computer… www.recovery.org is the perfect place to start… it’s free and filled with useful information.