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Defining Alcohol Use Disorder Criteria: Finding Out if You Need Help

an artful image of a human head made of alcohol bottles that is partially below water

Do you associate the word alcoholism with the drunken bum on the streetside or the loud one starting a fight in the bar? It’s not. Alcoholism, or the new more politically correct term, alcohol use disorder, can affect anyone.

But who fits the alcohol use disorder criteria?

Read on to learn more and find out if you need help with your alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a chronic and often progressive disease characterized by a person’s inability to control alcohol consumption. People who suffer from alcohol use disorder have a strong urge to drink alcohol, and they often continue to drink even when it causes them problems. It can lead to several health problems, including liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.

It can also cause cognitive problems and behavioral issues. It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism. There are several treatment options available, and with the right help, recovery is possible.

Alcohol Use Disorder Criteria

There are many different criteria used to diagnose alcohol use disorder (AUD). The most common criteria are the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria and the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) criteria.

The DSM-5 manual is the most recent version of the DSM manual and lists updated criteria used to diagnose alcohol use disorder. 

Behavioral Changes as a Result of AUD

People who suffer from AUD often experience several changes in their behavior. They may become more withdrawn and isolate themselves from friends and family. They may also start to neglect their appearance and hygiene.

They may miss work or school, or have problems with their job or grades. Alcoholics may also start to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated or having unsafe sex.

Types of AUD Classifications

There are two different types of alcohol use disorder: dependence and abuse.

A person who is dependent on alcohol has a physical dependence on the substance. This means that they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop drinking. Withdrawal symptoms can include shaking, sweating, and nausea.

A person who abuses alcohol does not have a physical dependence on the substance. However, they may still experience negative consequences as a result of their drinking. These consequences can include financial problems, relationship difficulties, and legal trouble.

Symptoms and Signs of AUD

There are many different physical and psychological symptoms associated with alcohol abuse and dependence. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Blackouts or periods of memory loss
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Cold sweats
  • Weakness or fatigue

What Should I Do if I Need Help?

If you think that you or someone you know may be suffering from alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. There are many different treatment options available, and the sooner treatment starts, the better the chances of recovery.

There are several options for obtaining assistance for alcohol abuse. You can talk to your doctor, or you can call a helpline like Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also get help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor.

Treatment For AUD

One of the most common treatment options is 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. These programs involve attending meetings and working through the 12 steps with a sponsor.

Other treatment options include therapy, medication, and inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab is often recommended for people who are struggling with severe alcohol dependence.

If you’re not sure what kind of treatment is right for you, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you find the treatment that will work best for you.

Prevention of AUD

There are several different things you can do to prevent alcohol use disorder. If you’re struggling with chronic alcoholism, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. There are several different treatment options available, and the sooner treatment starts, the better the chances of recovery.

If you’re not struggling with alcoholism, there are still things you can do to prevent it. Here are a few tips.

Tips to Avoid Chronic Alcoholism

Limit your alcohol intake. If you’re going to drink, make sure to do so in moderation.

Drinking alcohol in excess can be dangerous. Binge drinking is particularly risky, so it’s important to avoid doing this.

Avoid situations where you’re likely to drink in excess. If you know you can’t handle drinking in certain situations, it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Don’t drink if you’re feeling down or stressed. Alcohol is a depressant, so it will only make your mood worse.

Make sure to eat before you drink. Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to quicker intoxication.

Stay hydrated by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages. This will help to prevent dehydration and reduce the risk of a hangover.

Pace yourself when drinking. Sipping slowly will help you to drink less overall. Keep track of how much alcohol you’re consuming. This will help you to be aware of how quickly you’re drinking and how intoxicated you’re becoming.

Alcohol and Medications

Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs, including over-the-counter medications. This can lead to dangerous interactions.

Don’t drink if you’re pregnant. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause many serious health problems for both you and your baby.

If you take medication, talk to your doctor about the risks of drinking alcohol. Some medications can interact with alcohol, and drinking while taking them can be dangerous.

Don’t drink and drive. Drinking and driving are not only illegal, but it’s also very dangerous. If you’re going to drink, make sure to find a designated driver.

Get Help with Recovery from Addiction

If you’re questioning whether you have an addiction, look at the alcohol use disorder symptoms listed above. Do any of them resonate with you? If they do and you want help, please reach out to us at Apex Recovery.

We’ll help you with recovery from addiction and help you get your life back on track. From detox to inpatient and outpatient care, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. We don’t accept Medi-Cal at this time, but we do accept self-pay options. 

Get started on the road to recovery now.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689