Alcohol Use Disorder

Table of Contents

Many people enjoy a drink from time to time, but sometimes, alcohol use can get out of control. This can lead to AUD, a condition where a person can’t control their drinking even when it leads to problems. This disorder affects not only the person drinking alcohol but also their family, friends, and society as a whole.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines AUD as a medical condition where an individual can’t stop or control alcohol use despite its negative consequences. Drinking too much alcohol may seem like a simple habit, but over time it can turn into a serious health problem.

Factors Contributing to AUD

Several factors can lead to the development of Alcohol Use Disorder. Let’s take a closer look at them:

  • Genetic Traits: Some people are genetically predisposed to develop alcohol addiction. This means that they have certain genes passed down from their parents that increase their risk of AUD.

  • Environmental Factors: The environment in which a person grows up or lives can also play a role. For instance, high levels of stress, exposure to violence, or living in a community where heavy drinking is common can all contribute to the development of AUD.

  • Early Initiation of Alcohol Use: Starting to consume alcohol at an early age can increase the risk of AUD. This is because the brain is still developing during adolescence and early adulthood, and alcohol can interfere with this process.

  • Family History: If you have a family history of AUD or other substance abuse problems, you may be at a higher risk of developing AUD. This is due to both genetic and environmental factors.

  • Mental Health Conditions: People with certain mental health conditions, like depression or bipolar disorder, are more likely to develop AUD. Alcohol might be used as a way to cope with the symptoms of these conditions.

  • Binge and Heavy Drinking: Binge drinking (drinking too much alcohol in a short period) and heavy drinking (drinking alcohol regularly in large quantities) can increase your risk of AUD. Over time, this type of drinking can lead to physical dependence on alcohol and withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.

Here are some examples that highlight these factors:

  • A person might have grown up in a family where one or both parents had AUD. Seeing their parents drink heavily could normalize this behavior, leading them to start drinking at an early age.

  • Another individual may be dealing with a lot of stress at work. To cope, they might start drinking more heavily, which could eventually lead to AUD.

  • Someone with bipolar disorder might use alcohol to self-medicate, which can lead to dependence and AUD over time.

In each of these examples, it’s clear that a combination of factors can contribute to the development of AUD. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use, it’s important to seek treatment.

AUD and Public Health

AUD is a common problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 14 million adults in the United States struggle with AUD. That’s a lot of people! It shows us why it’s so important to talk about AUD and how to prevent it.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Physical, Behavioral, and Psychological Signs

Doctors use a guide called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), developed by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose AUD. This involves looking for certain signs and symptoms that suggest a person is having trouble with alcohol use.

Physical Signs of AUD

Physical signs can be the first indication of AUD. These might include:

  • Regularly drinking more alcohol than intended.

  • Having a high tolerance for alcohol means a person needs to drink more to feel the same effect.

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like shaking, sweating, and nausea when not drinking.

  • Developing health problems related to heavy alcohol use, such as liver disease or high blood pressure.

Behavioral Signs of AUD

Behavioral signs are changes in how a person acts due to their alcohol use. For example:

  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.

  • Giving up activities they used to enjoy to drink.

  • Continuing to drink even though it causes problems in their relationships or at work.

  • Finding themselves in dangerous situations, such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in unsafe sex, due to alcohol use.

Psychological Signs of AUD

Psychological signs are changes in a person’s thinking or mood-related to alcohol use. These can include:

  • Having a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol.

  • Feeling unable to control their alcohol use, even if they want to stop drinking.

  • Continuing to drink even though it makes them feel depressed or anxious.

  • Experiencing memory blackouts due to heavy drinking.

A mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can use these signs and symptoms to diagnose AUD. They may also ask about a person’s past year of drinking behavior and whether they’ve experienced any negative consequences due to their alcohol use.

Here are some examples of these symptoms:

  • A person might start drinking alcohol every day, even when they’re alone. They might also feel shaky or sick when they try to stop.

  • Another person might start neglecting their responsibilities at work or home because they’re spending so much time drinking or recovering from alcohol use.

  • Someone else might continue to drink even though it’s causing problems in their relationship or causing them to feel anxious or depressed.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek help. AUD is a serious health condition, but there are effective treatments available, including behavioral therapies and medications. Call us today at (323) 307-7997 or send us a message from our contact page to schedule your consultation.

Progressive Nature of AUD

AUD often gets worse over time. What starts as heavy drinking can turn into alcohol dependence, where the body needs alcohol to feel normal. This can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms if a person tries to stop drinking.

Health Complications

Long-term alcohol misuse can lead to many health problems. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and even certain types of cancer. In pregnant women, drinking alcohol can lead to a condition called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the baby.

Statistics and Case Studies

AUD is a big problem. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that in the past year, almost 30% of adults in the U.S. engaged in binge drinking. This is when a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short time.

Consequences of Alcohol Use Disorder

Living with AUD can lead to several serious consequences. These impacts can affect different areas of a person’s life, including their relationships, work, health, and overall well-being.

Negative Impact of AUD on Personal Relationships, Work, and Finances.

One of the first areas that can be affected by AUD is personal relationships. Excessive alcohol use often leads to:

  • Strained relationships with family members and friends due to unpredictable behavior or neglect of responsibilities.

  • Difficulty in maintaining a stable work or school schedule, leading to job loss or poor academic performance.

  • Financial difficulties due to spending too much money on alcohol or losing a job.

Increased Risk of Accidents, Injuries, and Legal Issues

Misuse of alcohol also leads to an increased risk of:

  • Accidents and injuries, such as falls or car accidents. Alcohol affects a person’s balance, coordination, and judgment, making them more likely to get hurt.

  • Legal issues, such as being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.

  • Engaging in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, which can lead to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unplanned pregnancies.

Correlation Between AUD and Mental Health Disorders

AUD often goes hand in hand with mental disorders like depression or anxiety. If you have AUD and a mental health disorder, it’s known as a “dual diagnosis.” Treatment for both conditions is necessary for recovery.

Potential Long-term Consequences if AUD Is Left Untreated

If AUD isn’t treated, it can lead to even more serious problems, including:

  • Chronic health conditions: Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to liver disease, heart problems, and an increased risk of cancer.

  • Mental health conditions: Without treatment, symptoms of depression and anxiety can become worse.

  • Dependence and addiction: Over time, a person might need to drink more to get the same effect, leading to alcohol dependence or addiction.

  • Life-threatening withdrawal symptoms: If a person who is dependent on alcohol suddenly stops drinking, they could experience severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures.

Treatment and Recovery Options for Alcohol Use Disorder

Recovery from AUD is a long-term process and often involves a combination of various treatment programs. The overall goal is to help individuals stop consuming alcohol and improve their quality of life. Call us today at (323) 307-7997, and let us walk with you toward a path of healing and transformation.

Different Approaches to Treating AUD

Several approaches can be used to treat AUD, including:

  • Medication: Some people may benefit from medications that can help reduce cravings for alcohol, manage withdrawal symptoms, or create adverse reactions when alcohol is consumed. These medications must be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

  • Behavioral therapies: These can help individuals understand their drinking behavior, develop coping skills, handle triggers that could lead to relapse, and make positive lifestyle changes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one commonly used approach.

  • Support groups: Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a supportive environment for individuals recovering from AUD. These mutual support groups offer a space for individuals to share their experiences and learn from others who have gone through similar struggles.

  • Individual and family counseling: Mental health professionals can provide therapy to help individuals and their families cope with the effects of AUD.

Rehabilitation Programs

Rehabilitation programs provide comprehensive treatment for people struggling with AUD. These can be:

  • Inpatient programs: Individuals stay at a treatment center for a specific period, receiving medical and psychological support around the clock. These programs provide a structured environment that allows the individual to focus solely on recovery.

  • Outpatient programs: Individuals live at home but visit the center for treatment, which can include medication, therapy, and support groups. This option allows individuals to continue with their daily responsibilities while receiving treatment.

    Contact us now to take that important first step towards healing and reclaiming your life from substance abuse. Our dedicated team at (323) 307-7997 is ready to provide the support and resources you need for a successful recovery journey.

Importance of Support Systems

Having a robust support system is essential for recovery. This can include:

  • Mutual support groups: Groups like AA provide a community of individuals who understand the challenges of recovery from AUD.

  • Family and friends: Loved ones can provide emotional support, help with practical matters, and serve as a motivation for the individual to maintain their recovery.

  • Healthcare providers: Regular check-ups with healthcare providers can help monitor progress and adjust treatment as necessary.

Overcoming Alcohol Use Disorder

Overcoming AUD isn’t easy, but it is possible. Here are some tips:

Tips and Strategies

Firstly, seek help. Reach out to a mental health professional or a trusted person in your life. Secondly, learn about AUD. The more you understand about this disorder, the better equipped you’ll be to fight it. Lastly, make a plan. Decide how you’re going to handle situations that might lead to drinking.

Lifestyle Changes

Making changes in your lifestyle can also help. This might mean finding new ways to manage stress, like exercise or meditation. It could also mean avoiding places or events where you might be tempted to drink.

Ongoing Support and Prevention

Recovery doesn’t end when you stop drinking. It’s a lifelong process. Having ongoing support from a group like AA or a mental health professional can be very helpful. They can provide advice and help prevent a relapse, which is when a person starts drinking again after trying to stop.

Take the First Step Towards Recovery at NuView Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is grappling with alcohol use disorder, it’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone – help is just a call away. Call us today at (323) 307-7997 or send us a message from our contact page to schedule your consultation. Take control of your future and embark on a journey toward a brighter, healthier life.


In conclusion, AUD is a serious but treatable disorder. It’s important to be aware of the signs of alcoholism and to seek help if you think you or someone else might have AUD. Remember, it’s never too late to make a change. Help is out there, and recovery is possible.

“Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2020,

“Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 4 Nov. 2008,

“Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM–IV and DSM–5.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Apr. 2021,

“Understanding Binge Drinking.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Mar. 2023,

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

    Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, is a medical condition where a person can’t control their use of alcohol even when it causes problems.

  • How is AUD Diagnosed?

    Doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to diagnose AUD. They look for various signs of alcoholism, like being unable to cut down on alcohol use or spending a lot of time drinking.

  • What are the Signs of AUD?

    Signs of AUD can be physical (like red eyes or slow reactions), behavioral (like drinking alone or neglecting responsibilities), or psychological (like mood swings or depression).

  • Can AUD Be Treated?

    Yes, AUD can be treated. Options might include detoxification, therapy, medications, and support from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • How Can I Help Someone With AUD?

    The best way to help someone with AUD is to encourage them to seek help. You can also provide support, listen to their concerns, and learn about AUD to better understand what they’re going through.

  • Is Recovery From AUD Possible?

    Yes, recovery is possible. Many people with AUD have successfully stopped drinking and rebuilt their lives.

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