Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is extremely common, affecting over 15 million Americans to some degree. The term “alcoholism” was previously separated into alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, which could be diagnosed separately. However, these two conditions have since been merged together under a general diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder. Here, we take a closer look at the common warning signs of alcoholism.
AUD can occur with any number of symptoms. It is not always obvious that a given person suffers from AUD. In fact, many people with AUD may be in denial that their drinking constitutes a problem. While AUD presents differently with each individual and can vary in severity from mild to severe, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) offers a number of symptoms that indicate AUD is present.
Symptoms of AUD
The DSM-V lays out a question format to help potential alcoholics and loved ones determine if professional alcohol rehab help is required:
“In the past year, have you:
- Had times you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?”
Other Signs and Symptoms of AUD
Exhibiting two symptoms from this list is enough to qualify for AUD. The presence of four to five symptoms indicates a moderate case of AUD, while more than that demonstrates a severe disorder. These signs and symptoms speak to a variety of experiences typical of AUD:
- strong cravings
- the development of a tolerance for alcohol
- engaging in risky or uncharacteristic behaviors
- life-interfering or impairing levels of dependence or habitual drinking
- a neglect for their appearance
- decrease in school or work performance
- tremors or shakiness (when not using alcohol)
- memory loss
- in extreme cases, the development of illnesses such as cirrhosis
Seeking Treatment for AUD
If you or a loved one exhibit some of these symptoms of AUD, it is important to speak with a medical professional right away and develop a plan to cut back and eliminate alcohol use before the situation worsens. AUD can easily take over one’s life, causing physical, social, and emotional damage. In serious cases, recovery at a dedicated substance abuse center may be the key to overcoming AUD.
Alcohol Rehab and Support in New Hampshire
Granite Recovery Centers in New Hampshire treats AUD and other substance issues, offering a spectrum of care from medically-supervised detox to inpatient alcohol rehab and sober living facilities. Our unique combination of 12-step based work with clinical treatment modalities ensures that you or your loved one have all the tools necessary to achieve lasting sobriety and a happier life free of substance dependence and abuse.
If you or your loved one is suffering from an alcohol use disorder, please call our admissions specialists at 855.712.7784. No matter where you are with your struggle with alcoholism, Granite Recovery Centers’ caring and professional team can help.