In this article
Alcohol addiction often leads to social, economic, and health problems. Excessive alcohol use is an extreme health hazard. Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. have succumbed to the severe consequences of alcohol misuse.1
The 2015 National Survey on Drug Abuse reported:2
Keep reading to discover what counts as alcohol addiction, its effects, and available treatment options for the condition.
The DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and was published in 2013. The DSM-5 is used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders and provides a common language and framework for diagnosis.
Some of the conditions under the criteria set by the DSM-5 include:
DSM 5’s definition of alcohol use is a pattern of alcohol consumption that often leads to clinically significant distress or impairment within a 12-month timeframe.
Two to three of these symptoms is mild alcoholism. Moderate AUD includes four to five symptoms. And severe alcoholism is six or more symptoms.
Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:
Answer a few questions to get started
Many people find it challenging to recognize the symptoms of alcoholism.4 Alcohol’s regular use and acceptance in several cultures may play a role in this. Unlike meth or cocaine, alcohol isn’t considered to be dangerous. It’s also used as a token of celebration globally.
It’s difficult to differentiate someone who drinks for fun from someone with a severe drinking problem. However, several identifiable symptoms of AUD can help you confirm the latter. Symptoms include:
Failure to detect a person’s alcohol addiction early on can result in worsening symptoms. For instance, that person could greatly suffer from mental and physical health problems.
To increase the chances of successful addiction recovery, it’s best to detect signs of addiction and enlist help as early as possible..
People suffering from AUD tend to follow certain behavioral patterns when influenced by alcohol.5 Alcoholics tend to behave differently when trying to hide their drinking problems from their family and friends. Behavioral signs of alcoholism may include:
Mental signs of alcoholism may include:
The physical symptoms of alcoholism can vary depending on how much and how often someone drinks. Some people may only experience mild symptoms, while others may develop serious health complications.
Common physical symptoms of alcoholism include:
There is no one cause for alcoholism. Many biological, psychological, environmental, and socioeconomic risk factors are attributed to this condition.
Many factors can increase someone's risk of developing alcoholism. Some of these factors are out of our control, like our genes and family history. But we can also reduce our risk, like choosing not to drink alcohol or drinking in moderation.
Here are some of the most common risk factors for developing alcoholism:
There is no gender-based difference regarding AUD.6 Both men and women are prone to developing alcoholism at the same rate. However, some studies suggest that men have a higher risk factor.7
Research also shows that kids are more prone to developing AUD as adults if they grew up with one parent who struggled with it.8
The people who should drink cautiously or shouldn’t drink at all are:
Occasional drinks might not seem like a big deal. However, those more prone to developing alcoholism and having higher risk factors should avoid drinking at all costs.
The short-term effects of alcoholism can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, which means that the symptoms and effects of drinking alcohol get worse over time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Some of the most common short-term effects of alcoholism include:
Over time, the damage caused by heavy drinking causes chronic and/or severe health problems. Many also deal with non-health problems in their lives.
Most people who have been dealing with AUD for a long time experience one or more of the following:
Once alcoholism has passed the initial stages, treatment can become challenging for the individual and doctor.11
The treatment options below are more likely to work when the person is committed to bettering themselves. Here are a few treatment options for alcoholism.
Inpatient treatment is one of the most recommended and effective ways to treat alcoholism. The individual will have to admit themselves into a rehab center, undergo regular treatments, and remain at the facility for a specific period.
A partial hospitalization program is a sort of semi-inpatient treatment. The individual would visit a facility 6 days a week and undergo a strict treatment plan. They don’t have to check in the hospital for this treatment method.
Outpatient treatment is another available treatment for people suffering from AUD. This treatment allows the individual to remain involved in their daily activities and professional responsibilities while attending a daily program recommended by their doctor.
Medication-assisted treatment for alcoholism involves using various therapies, medications, counseling sessions, and other necessary programs.
Alcoholism is becoming a serious concern among adults and teenagers. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the symptoms of alcohol addiction, its risk factors, and treatment options. We hope you can identify early signs of alcohol addiction developing in your loved one, friend, or coworker.
If you see someone suffering from AUD and in need of help, we encourage you to get them the support they need as soon as possible.
In this article