If you’re trying to keep your vocabulary updated and avoid offensive or outdated terms, then you will want to avoid using any variation of the word “alcoholism”. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, clarifies that the correct way to talk about this now is to call it Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Does vocabulary matter? Yes, using correct terminology helps those who are suffering to get the support they need. In order to be diagnosed with AUD, you must have some specific symptoms, and a mental health professional is required to make this diagnosis. They must find that you have at least two of the specified signs and symptoms of alcoholism and must have had them over a period of 12 months. Depending on the number, you can be diagnosed as having mild, moderate, or severe AUD. The more the symptoms, the more advanced the AUD.
If you or someone you know identifies with at least two of the below signs and symptoms of alcoholism, you may need to find help.
Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use has both psychological as well as physical symptoms, and the most immediate impact on the body includes the following:
- A slowed reaction time
- Trouble with motor coordination and the inability to walk well
- Frequent blackouts
- Impaired judgment and risk-taking without consideration of the consequences.
- Slurred speech
- Memory lapses and memory impairment
The clearest symptom of AUD is an inability to stop drinking or controlling your alcohol intake, despite many attempts. Others include:
- Frequently using alcohol in high volumes.
- Spending too much time getting alcohol, drinking, and trying to recover from the effects.
- Experiencing a solid urge to drink alcohol – also known as cravings.
- Finding yourself unable to work, attend school, or fulfill your family obligations due to your recurrent alcohol use.
- Continued drinking even after you experience social, relationship, and other types of problems that are worsened by alcohol use.
- Giving up or reducing the time spent at home, work, or social engagements to drinking.
- Having repeated drinking episodes during physically dangerous times, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.
- Starting to experience tolerance and the need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effects of alcohol.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after attempting to cut back or stop the drinking, such as restlessness, shakiness, sweating, nausea, seizures, a racing heart, and hallucinations.
If you meet two or three of these symptoms, you have mild AUD, if you meet four or five symptoms, then you have moderate AUD, and more than six means severe AUD.
Heavy drinking can be classified as moderate or mild. According to advanced recovery systems, most people experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they abuse alcohol for a long time.
Behavioral Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
- Legal troubles such as domestic abuse, assault, and DUIs
- Going to work, school, or family functions while intoxicated
- Yo-yoing (drinking and then stopping in a repeat pattern with time)
- Overreacting to criticism about your drinking
- Financial problems
- Stealing to buy more alcohol and lying about it
- Taking loans, depleting cash, and liquidating assets to buy more alcohol
- Engaging in risky activities such as drunk driving and unprotected sex when drunk
Is Alcohol Use Disorder Common?
Yes. AUD is pretty common in most families and is more prevalent than you think. Psychological studies revealed that at least 29.1% of the US population, almost 68.5 million people, have experienced AUD in varying degrees. Every year, approx. 13.9% of the US population experiences alcohol use disorder and about 19.8% of adults have sought treatment for alcohol use at some point in their lives.
Additionally, 75% of Americans with an alcohol problem binge drink frequently, leading to memory lapses and blackouts. With time, chronic binge drinking develops into severe damage to the brain and liver.
I’m I an Alcoholic?
Well, it depends. How is your alcohol intake? How often are you taking alcohol in a week? How many drinks do you have in a day? There are many ways to answer this question, and it would be best to take our self-assessment test. These well-designed questions will help you determine whether you are suffering from alcohol use disorder or not.
Alcohol Use Disorder and Drunk Driving Stats
The most troubling behavioral signs and symptoms of alcoholism is drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving published the following statistics:
- In 2017, at least 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents, one in every 48 minutes. There were more than 300,000 people injured in these crashes.
- Each day, more than 926 people are injured in a drunk driving crash, which adds up to one every 90 seconds.
- There were more than 3.78 million drunk-driving attempts in the US in 2017, with a blood alcohol level of .08 and above.
- The 2019 drunk driving deaths represented at least 28% of traffic-related fatalities, about 36,000. This moved up to 30% in 2020.
- Each day, 32 people are killed in a drunk driving-related crash every 45 minutes in the US.
- At least two in every three people in the US have been impacted by drunk driving at some point in their lifetime.
These are troubling statistics. Changes are clearly required, and some conversations must take place about it. Please contact us immediately if you or anyone you know is struggling with alcohol use disorder. Our Colorado Springs and Denver alcohol rehab centers can provide the tools you need to get started on the path to sobriety. While it’s not an easy journey, a life without alcohol is possible. We can help.
Having a support system from a rehab clinic will also help curb the possibility of relapse. We are there for you from the start of your alcohol abuse treatment until you achieve sobriety and start living a life without alcohol.
Is Alcohol Use Disorder Reversible?
Yes. Most people suffering from AUD will recover with the proper treatment within one year of sobriety. However, in some cases, it can take much longer. The outcome of recovery and sobriety depends on one’s desire and commitment to the treatment program.
AspenRidge Recovery: Alcohol Rehab in Colorado
AspenRidge Recovery is Colorado’s leading alcohol addiction recovery center helping thousands to overcome excessive drinking and alcohol use disorder. Our various programs aim to treat AUD using different approaches, including dual diagnosis therapy, substance misuse help, cognitive therapy, holistic approaches, group therapy, and more.
The Joint Commission also certifies our center, and our licensed counselors are trained, specifically, in substance misuse and addiction. We offer the following programs:
We can help guide you through the different stages of alcohol rehab and next steps. It’s also critical to understand that treatment is different for everyone and, therefore, a tailored treatment approach is important. Contact us today for more information about Colorado alcohol rehabilitation at 855-281-5588.