Do you drink more than you intend to? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking? Do you neglect your responsibilities or relationships because of alcohol? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have alcohol use disorder (AUD).
AUD is a chronic condition that affects about 14.5 million Americans aged 12 and older, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It is defined as a pattern of alcohol use that causes significant impairment or distress in one’s life.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of AUD are:
– Craving alcohol
– Drinking alone or in secret
– Losing interest in other activities
– Having mood swings or irritability
– Having blackouts or memory loss
– Failing to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home
– Hiding or lying about alcohol consumption
– Having hangovers or withdrawal symptoms
– Being distant from friends, family, or loved ones
AUD can also lead to serious health problems, such as liver damage, heart disease, brain damage, cancer, and infections. It can also increase the risk of accidents, injuries, violence, and suicide.
The causes of AUD are complex and may involve genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors. Some people may be more prone to developing AUD due to their family history, personality traits, stress levels, or trauma exposure.
The good news is that AUD can be treated with a combination of medication, counseling, and support groups. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and seek help. There are many resources available for people with AUD and their loved ones, such as:
– The NIAAA website (https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/), which provides information on alcohol-related topics and treatment options.
– The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline (1-800-662-HELP) and website (https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/), which offer confidential referrals to local treatment facilities and programs.
– Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) website (https://www.aa.org/), which is a worldwide fellowship of people who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other to overcome their alcohol problem.
– Al-Anon Family Groups website (https://al-anon.org/), which is a support network for families and friends of people with alcohol problems.
One of the most inspiring quotes from a person who recovered from AUD is:
“I realized I had a choice: I could live or I could die. And I chose to live.” – Elizabeth Vargas
Another quote from a professional who treats AUD is:
“The most effective treatment for alcoholism is to find out what’s going on inside these individuals. Why are they using alcohol as a coping mechanism? And then teach them new ways of coping.” – Dr. Joseph Volpicelli
If you or someone you know has signs or symptoms of AUD, do not hesitate to reach out for help. You are not alone, and recovery is possible.