Author: Gary Jackson

Alcohol Use Disorder: What It Is, Risks & Treatment

In the early stages of alcoholism, one or two drinks may be all it takes to get the “song” to stop. But soon it takes six or seven, and later maybe ten or twelve. Somewhere down the road, the only time the song stops is when the person is passed out. Other types of brain scans have revealed that alcohol damages parts of the nervous system and the brain stem, causing issues with problem-solving and emotional regulation. The scans have also shown differences in electrical activity in the brains of people dependent on alcohol and people going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms. With the use of appropriate medications and behavioral therapies, people can recover from AUD.

  • But most people lacked the funds or insurance to pay for these very expensive programs.
  • For this reason, denial is an almost universal symptom of the disease.

But then it means nothing to say that alcoholism is a disease. Smoking is not a disease but the lung cancer that it can cause is a disease. Drinking too much isn’t a disease but it can cause diseases. They include high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, and fetal alcohol syndrome. The existence of chemical dependencies is a medical fact.

Is Alcoholism a Disease? (Here’s the Evidence and Logic)

In more severe cases, people may also have seizures or hallucinations. Under the direction of licensed therapists or counselors, behavioral therapies involve psychological strategies to modify drinking behaviors. The therapy goals are to develop the skills needed to manage your habits, build social support, set and work toward realistic goals, and deal with or avoid things that trigger drinking. It’s not surprising that the disease theory of alcoholism has proved to be such a disappointing failure.

Knowing that others are going through what you are can help with the loneliness and stigma and support you when you’re struggling. Hosted by Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies for coping with alcohol cravings and other addictions, featuring addiction specialist John Umhau, MD. This is an example of a mental obsession – a thought process over which you have no control. Jones, R., and Helrich, A. Treatment of alcoholism by physicians. Alcoholism is a euphemism to describe behavior that is repetitive, excessive and troubling. The director of NIAAA’s Division of Treatment and Recovery Research was amazed.

Alcohol use disorder

When the drinking “song” starts playing in the mind of an alcoholic, they are powerless. The alcoholic didn’t put or want the thought there, the only way to get it to stop is to have another drink. One of the difficulties in recognizing alcoholism as a disease is it doesn’t quite seem like one. It doesn’t look, sound or act like most diseases we know. And, generally, alcoholism remains hidden and resists treatment. Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking.

  • In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy.
  • They include high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Gordis, E. Accessible and affordable health care for alcoholism and related problems.

Alcohol can interfere with a person’s ability to care for their other medical conditions or make other medical conditions worse. Mutual-support groups provide peer support for stopping or reducing drinking. Group meetings are available in most communities at low or no cost, and at convenient times and locations—including an increasing presence online. This means they can be especially helpful to individuals at risk for relapse to drinking.

What causes alcohol use disorder?

You may never develop AIDS if you always have protected sex. Alcohol use that turns into a use disorder develops in stages. For this reason, denial is an almost universal symptom of the disease. For those who have realized they have a problem, help may be as close as the white pages of the telephone directory.

is alcoholism a disease