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Why Is Alcoholism Alcohol Use Disorder Considered a Chronic Disease?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in 2015, 15.1 million American adults (6.2 percent of the population) had an alcohol use problem. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process. Talk with your provider if you or someone you know may have an alcohol problem. One drink is defined as 12 ounces or 360 milliliters (mL) of beer (5% alcohol content), 5 ounces or 150 mL of wine (12% alcohol content), or a 1.5-ounce or 45-mL shot of liquor (80 proof, or 40% alcohol content).

Is alcoholism the same as alcohol use disorder?

When a person has uncontrolled and problematic drinking, he or she may have a health condition called alcohol use disorder (AUD), commonly known as alcoholism. Health professionals use a list of symptoms to diagnose AUD. Depending on how many symptoms the person has, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Societal factors include level of economic development, culture, social norms, availability of alcohol, and implementation and enforcement of alcohol policies. Adverse health impacts and social harm from a given level and pattern 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober Living House of drinking are greater for poorer societies. Support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs that provide trained professional or peer-led support for people in recovery from alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol Use Disorder: What is it?

Those who are dependent on alcohol seem to drink at the expense of essentially everything and everyone around them – even the people they love dearly. Using one or more of several types of psychological therapies, psychologists can help people address psychological issues involved in their problem drinking. A number of these therapies, including cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment and motivational enhancement therapy, were developed by psychologists. Additional therapies include 12-Step facilitation approaches that assist those with drinking problems in using self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems.

A person with this condition does not know when or how to stop drinking. They spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol, and they cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, and financially. Whether alcohol use disorder is mild, moderate, or severe is based on the number of questions answered with a yes. If you said yes to 2-3 questions, it is likely mild AUD, 4-5 questions answered yes is moderate AUD, and 6 or more questions answered yes is severe AUD.

How do social drinkers differ from individuals with alcohol use disorder?

After withdrawal, doctors recommend that patients continue treatment to address the underlying alcohol use disorder and help them maintain abstinence from or achieve a reduction in alcohol consumption. If you’re looking for treatment for an alcohol use disorder, The Recovery Village is here to help. We have locations around the country, and we offer multiple levels of care, ranging from inpatient treatment to outpatient services. Alcoholism is considered a chronic disease with a long-term course, so treatment must mirror this concept. The best treatment plans are typically long term and evolve over time to continue addressing the changing needs of the individual as they move through the steps of recovery.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports excessive alcohol use leads to over 95,000 deaths in the U.S. every year and is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the country.
  • Many mental health-centered treatments for AUD can help recovery, from motivational interviewing to mindfulness training.
  • Behavioral treatments—also known as alcohol counseling, or talk therapy, and provided by licensed therapists—are aimed at changing drinking behavior.
  • The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes the 11 signs and symptoms that may indicate alcohol use disorder (AUD).
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