Author: Gary Jackson

Alcohol use disorder Symptoms and causes

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Needing a drink first thing in the morning — or even in the middle of the night — to stave off nausea or stop the shakes
are signs of dependence and withdrawal. Typical
alcohol withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, nausea, anxiety and insomnia.

It’s a disease of brain function and requires medical and psychological treatments to control it. To learn more about alcohol treatment options and search for quality care near you, please visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator. Several evidence-based treatment approaches are available for AUD. One size does not fit all and a treatment approach that may work for one person may not work for another.

How Is Alcoholism Treated?

Alcoholics Anonymous is available almost everywhere and provides a place to openly and non-judgmentally discuss alcohol problems with others who have alcohol use disorder. Your treatment setting will depend on your stage of recovery and the severity of your illness. You may need inpatient medical (hospital), residential rehabilitation (rehab), outpatient intensive therapy or outpatient maintenance. Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. If you’re worried that you might have alcohol use disorder, don’t try to quit cold turkey on your own.

This can cause agitation, fever, hallucinations, confusion and seizures. For this reason, people who drink heavily and are looking to end their addiction should seek medical assistance. The high-functioning alcoholic is perhaps the furthest from the alcoholic stereotype, leading many to be in denial about their addiction. About 62% of functional alcoholics work full time, and 26% possess a college degree or higher. This subtype makes up 19.5% of people addicted to alcohol in the U.S.

Behavioral treatments

The diagnosis is made when drinking interferes with your life or affects your health. Symptoms of dependence include becoming tolerant to some of
alcohol’s effects and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not consumed. A person who is physically dependent
on alcohol may also experience cravings — an intense need or desire to drink. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior. Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder. Many people with alcohol use disorder hesitate to get treatment because they don’t recognize that they have a problem.

signs of alcoholism

Treatment can be outpatient and/or inpatient and be provided by specialty programs, therapists, and health care providers. A health care provider might ask the following questions to assess a person’s symptoms. Between 3 and 43 percent of alcoholics suffer from thrombocytopenia, a low level of platelets in the blood. Low platelet
counts affect the body’s ability to make clots to stop bleeding.

Management and Treatment

Options may include a combination of psychiatric support, medication, or alcohol misuse support groups. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it can slow down brain activity. People with AUD may have to drink increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to get the same effects as they used to with fewer drinks.

  • Thousands of people from all walks of life battle alcoholism every day, and thousands make the decision to seek help.
  • Many people use the terms “alcohol abuse” and “alcoholism” interchangeably.
  • Not everyone with an alcohol use disorder develops a physical dependence to alcohol, but people may exhibit other physical
  • Peer support may also help in coping with emotions that may have led to alcohol misuse.

If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important. Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male has five or more drinks within two hours or a female has at least four drinks within two hours. Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms happen for heavier drinkers. Alcohol withdrawal can begin within hours of ending a drinking session.

Am I An Alcoholic? 10 Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism can be difficult to detect from the outside, particularly early in the course of the disease. But as it progresses,
the disease has an array of effects on the body, and a number of physical signs may become apparent. When alcoholism is severe, an individual may develop a physical dependence on the drug. The sooner you recognize there may be a problem and talk to your healthcare provider, the better your recovery chances. If you drink more alcohol than that, consider cutting back or quitting.

  • However, not everyone has severe symptoms that require hospitalization.
  • Alcohol use disorder (sometimes called alcoholism) is a medical condition.
  • If you find yourself regularly thinking about your next drink, or if you’ve tried to cut back on drinking and never quite succeeded, you may have an alcohol addiction.