Alcohol Use Disorder: What It Is, Risks & Treatment


Take the first step to recovery by contacting a treatment provider for more information today. Relying on alcohol to reduce daily life stressors can impact the likelihood of developing alcoholism. Since alcohol is a depressant and a sedative, drinking produces feelings of pleasure.

In 2013, 45.8% of liver disease deaths among Americans ages 12 and older involved alcohol. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver and breast. Heart disease is currently one of the leading causes of death for alcoholics. An estimated 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes.

Tests for alcoholism

As with other addictive behaviors, alcoholism is a learned behavior that is influenced by a person’s thoughts and beliefs. People who don’t believe in treatment and recovery are less likely to make the effort required to successfully complete treatment. The symptoms of stress can also contribute to addiction, with the use of alcohol becoming a temporary and unhealthy way to cope.

Do you have to drink a lot more than you used to in order to get buzzed or to feel relaxed? These are signs of tolerance, which can be an early warning sign of alcoholism. Tolerance means that, over time, you need more and more alcohol to feel the same effects.

What is alcohol use disorder, and what is the treatment?

You receive 24/7 care from medical staff who monitor your vital signs and attend to any medical emergencies. You’re also provided medications to ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal so you’re as comfortable as possible. Some of these occur because of the amount of alcohol in your system, others are alcohol withdrawal symptoms between drinking sessions. Alcohol and drug addiction can also cause or intensify mental health symptoms. For example, alcohol has a sedating effect and can deplete certain brain chemicals, which can cause depression symptoms.

why is alcohol addictive

If you drink more alcohol than that, consider cutting back or quitting. Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Scouts, and after-school clubs. Start by talking honestly and openly with the friend or family member who’s drinking too much.

A public health perspective on zero- and low-alcohol beverages

Shame is one of the most difficult emotions for many to cope with, and it is also one of the most traumatic. An addiction to alcohol, or alcoholism, when diagnosed is called an alcohol use disorder (AUD). People with the condition may not fully understand AUD and what causes alcoholism, so seeking out a professional opinion and treatment options is always recommended to limit the risks. Around 14.1 million adults and 414,000 adolescents in the United States had an alcohol use disorder in 2019. In Colorado, where The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is located, the prevalence of past-year alcohol use disorder was 14.6% (or 86,000 people) in 2019. This rate is higher than both the regional average (11.7%) and the national average (9.8%).

The withdrawal process is very challenging and difficult to go through, as the brain and body crave the level of alcohol they are accustomed to receiving. Avoiding withdrawal is a strong motivator for an alcoholic to continue to drink. This can create a vicious cycle, where the alcoholic drinks to avoid the stress of withdrawal. Diagnosis is based on a conversation with your healthcare provider. The diagnosis is made when drinking interferes with your life or affects your health.

Addiction fuels habits too—craving a cigarette every morning with coffee or wanting a hit when you drive past the house where you used to do drugs. The brain’s reward system activates when we do something we like—eating a piece of our favorite pie, hanging out with friends, or going for a run, for instance. Ask the mother who lost her 19-year-old son — the laughing why is alcohol addictive family prankster who earned a full-ride college scholarship as a solid student and star second baseman — to drugs. Many people drink because they don’t feel adequately connected to others. They believe that alcohol will either fill the void or possibly make it easier for them to forge new bonds. Some people are naturally anxious, causing them to perpetually worry.