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What is Alcohol Use Disorder and How to Overcome It?

Alcohol can be a great way to relax and socialize – but It’s important to recognize when alcohol has gone beyond being part of the fun. For some, it can become an uncontrollable addiction, but that doesn’t mean help isn’t available. This blog post is here to provide you with the knowledge and resources needed for recognizing AUD symptoms and reaching out for support. 

Understanding AUD

AUD is an extremely serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can have life-altering consequences. Fortunately, effective treatment plans such as therapy and medication exist to help individuals take control of their relationship with alcohol. 

This, however, takes courage and dedication from the affected person in order to make lasting lifestyle changes. Remember: you’re never alone on this journey. There are countless resources available for those seeking recovery. These resources include professional guidance and unwavering support from loved ones.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a serious medical condition that dramatically affects the lives of countless Americans annually. Every year, an estimated 14.5 million people aged 12 or over suffer from AUD – making it one of the most widespread substance abuse issues in the nation. 

Those who struggle with this affliction can experience heightened tolerance to alcohol, lack control when binge drinking, and develop withdrawal symptoms if they abstain for too long. It’s important to become familiar with the early signs of AUD as it can drastically increase a person’s chances of success on their recovery journey. 

Physical Symptoms

Alcohol use disorder can have far-reaching consequences on both our physical and mental health. Common physical signs of AUD include trembling hands, excessive sweating, or feelings of sickness. Unfortunately, these warnings are often overlooked as long-term misuse may lead to more serious issues such as liver dysfunction, hypertension, and other medical conditions. In addition, the psychological component may result in stress, depression, or overwhelming anxiety for those affected.

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms are a key indicator of alcohol use disorder. These may include drinking alone, neglecting responsibilities, and engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence. Other behavioral symptoms can include withdrawal from social activities or hobbies and continuing to drink despite negative consequences. Recognizing these symptoms is an important step in seeking help for alcohol use disorder.

Causes of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a serious condition that impacts the health and well-being of individuals on many levels. While there are several genetic factors that could influence its development, environmental factors can also play a role. Traumatic events or high-stress levels may cause the use of alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism. Further, those with other mental health disorders like depression and anxiety may find themselves at higher risk for developing AUD. 

Diagnosing Alcohol Use Disorder

Struggling with alcohol consumption? You may be among the 16 million adults in America who suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). This chronic medical condition makes it incredibly hard to reduce or quit drinking, regardless of the consequences. If you’re experiencing frequent cravings and difficulty controlling your alcohol intake, professional help can make all the difference.

Screening Methods

If you or someone close to you is concerned about alcohol use, there are ways professionals can help accurately diagnose the situation. Two popular methods include CAGE and AUDIT questionnaires: while CAGE consists of four straightforward questions regarding one’s relationship with alcohol, AUDIT evaluates an individual’s patterns, behaviors, and consequences in relation to drinking. Treatment options such as therapy, medication & support groups enable successful AUD management. This allows individuals to reach their goals of complete wellness life through sobriety and healthy habits.

Formal Diagnosis

A formal diagnosis of AUD requires meeting certain criteria such as difficulty controlling alcohol intake or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from drinking. To receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for this disorder, seeking care from professionals like healthcare providers or addiction specialists is essential. Treatment options may include therapy sessions, medication-assisted treatments, and support groups to provide emotional assistance during recovery. 

Treatment Options for AUD

With the right treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, you can make positive and lasting changes. Counseling from a licensed professional who specializes in addiction might be just what’s needed. Medications help reduce cravings along with common withdrawal symptoms associated with the condition. Joining supportive communities like AA is another great option as this route promotes companionship and understanding during recovery.

Medications

Medications can be an integral part of combating AUD. By working with healthcare providers, individuals have access to a range of FDA-approved options that could help reduce cravings, and withdrawal symptoms and encourage abstinence. It’s important to note that these medications are most successful when used alongside therapy or support groups: 

  • Naltrexone works by blocking the effects alcohol has on the brain
  • Acamprosate helps people maintain sobriety
  • Disulfiram produces unpleasant side effects when combined with drinking 

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET), have proven successful in treating AUD– CBT. These therapies focus on altering negative thoughts and behaviors related to drinking, while MET seeks to build the motivation required for lasting change. Other forms of behavior modification such as contingency management and family therapy can also significantly support one’s recovery.

Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers a safe space for those struggling with substance abuse to come together, share their stories, and heal. Addressing their struggles through the 12-step program enables individuals to find strength as they work towards recovery together. Alternative specialized support groups cater to the specific needs of different demographics such as women or young adults. Attending regular meetings and actively participating in the group can help individuals stay accountable and motivated in their recovery journey. 

Overcome Alcohol Use Disorder at Agape Behavioral Healthcare

Alcohol Use Disorder is a serious health issue with many signs and symptoms. Seeking help for AUD can be difficult. However, it is important to remember that asking for help is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Treatment options like medications, behavioral therapies, support groups and more have been proven effective in helping individuals reach sobriety. Remember: Your health is worth fighting for seek help today if you believe alcohol addiction has taken over your life.

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