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What Is AUD?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) refers to a pattern of alcohol use where one has problems controlling their drinking and continuing to use alcohol even when it causes serious problems to themselves and to others. The affected person needs increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to feel the effects of alcohol.

Who Can Have Alcohol Use Disorder?

The quick answer to that is that anyone can develop an alcohol dependency which will result in AUD. The common myth is that there is a gene that causes AUD. While genetics may play their part in how quickly someone develops the disorder and the likelihood, it doesn’t mean there is a specific gene required for alcoholism. Likewise there are no “safe” individuals. No one is immune to alcohol use disorder. If you drink enough, for long enough, you will become an alcoholic.

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What Causes Alcohol Use Disorder?

Research shows that genes, environment, and psychological factors predispose someone to develop an alcohol use disorder. Therefore, you’re more likely to struggle with alcohol if:

  • You can quickly obtain alcohol
  • Have a low self-esteem
  • You struggle with depression and anxiety disorders
  • Under a lot of peer pressure
  • Have a stressful job or problems with relationships
  • Have a family history of alcohol use disorders

Though addiction is a disease, there is no single cause for AUD. The reality is that there is a complex interplay of psychology, social and environmental factors at play when an AUD is developed in an individual.

How Is Alcohol Use Disorder Diagnosed?

Alcohol use disorder can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the symptoms manifested. These symptoms include:

  • Unsuccessful attempts at cutting down on the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Spending too much time drinking or effort to get alcohol
  • Strongly craving alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work due to alcohol use
  • Needing more and more amounts of alcohol to get drunk because of tolerance
  • Consuming alcohol in dangerous situations, such as when driving
  • Continuing to use alcohol even when relationships with family and friends are being harmed

Alcohol use disorder is also associated with withdrawal symptoms whenever the amount of alcohol usually consumed is reduced or abruptly stopped. These symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hand tremors
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Hallucinations

Anyone who has experienced the above symptoms and withdrawal symptoms in the past 12 months can be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Some additional exams and tests can be used to confirm a diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, such as family history and personal history of alcohol use.

The doctor will also order a blood alcohol level which shows if you have recently used alcohol, a complete blood count, a liver function test for evidence of chronic alcohol use, and a magnesium blood test.

How is alcohol use disorder treated?

The most critical first step is being aware of how much you drink, understanding the health risks associated with it and then deciding to quit. When you enter an alcohol detox, this information is vital for the professional clinicians who will treat you.

Chronic alcohol use may be associated with alcohol withdrawal, which can be uncomfortable and life-threatening, so a professional alcohol rehab is necessary for short-term safety and long term, lasting recovery.

Our addiction treatment center in Bentonville, Arkansas offers AUD treatment in a safe, clean, and healthy atmosphere. If you have any questions about addiction treatment in general or alcohol detox and rehab specifically, call us today. We have addiction specialists available to help you understand what you are dealing with and what your options are.

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