It is not unusual for people to enjoy an occasional glass of wine or beer, particularly after a hard day at the office. But how much is too much alcohol and what is considered alcohol abuse? When can you tell when you’ve crossed the line and have developed alcohol use disorder or AUD?
Although there are guidelines in place for moderate drinking, i.e. no more than one a day for women and two for a man, with one drink equaling 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer.
However, some people are more susceptible to alcohol than others. For example, it is possible for a small-framed woman to be more affected by two glasses of wine than another with more body mass. For that reason, irrespective of the volume or frequency of alcohol consumed, it is possible to have a difficult relationship with alcohol that could potentially develop into AUD. Ultimately, if a person is
A better way of reviewing your drinking habits than to judge your consumption by government guidelines is to think about how much alcohol you drink during an average week. If you’re concerned about your alcohol use, try and record the times you felt you needed to drink and the reasons why. Documenting a changing relationship with substances such as alcohol can provide a good reference point for people to judge whether they have a problem.
AUD is more about the relationship a person has with alcohol than the substance itself.
The Signs and Symptoms of AUD
People struggling with substance abuse generally go to great lengths to conceal their problem. They may even resort to hiding alcohol in unusual places around the home or office so that it’s always close to hand for surreptitious drinking. This concealment is not only an indication a person has a problem but also suggests they might be in denial of the fact.
The signals that someone may have AUD include:
- An overwhelming compulsion to consume alcohol
- Lack of control over how much alcohol is consumed
- Negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions when not drinking
One of the main characteristics of AUD is that the individual is not able to control their urge to use alcohol, often putting more emphasis on getting the next drink than other more important aspects of their lives.
AUD is a form of addiction illness which people can have mild, moderate and severe symptoms of although nearly all cases require some form of specialist treatment at an alcohol abuse rehab center. The severity of AUD depends on a number of factors including how long the individual has used alcohol and the frequency of consumption. It is more likely that you have AUD if one or more of the following statements are true:
- It is not possible to relax or fall asleep without using alcohol
- Alcohol is needed for you to enjoy social gatherings or events
- Alcohol provides an escape from difficult feelings or situations
- You drive under the influence of alcohol
- You are mixing alcohol with prescription medications or illegal substances
- People are regularly hurt by your behavior when under the influence of alcohol
- You have become unreliable at work, home or school
- Alcohol is consumed while pregnant or caring for young children
- It becomes harder to remember the exact events taking place when drunk
- When alcohol isn’t consumed, withdrawal symptoms start to emerge
- You have tried several times to quit drinking but have not been successful
- You are completely preoccupied with obtaining and enjoying the next drink
- You experience deepening feelings of depression or anxiety
The Effects of AUD
Even for people with mild AUD, there can be a serious impact on physical, emotional and mental health.
The short-term effects of AUD include:
- Memory loss
- Nausea and sickness
The long-term effects include:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Brain damage
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease including cirrhosis
- Permanent memory loss
AUD and Dual Diagnosis Patients
Sometimes people use alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms of an existing mental health condition like depression or PTSD. In other cases, individuals develop the symptoms of mental illness as a direct result of alcohol abuse. In both instances, these cases are known as dual-diagnosis.
Dual-diagnosis patients are able to look forward to an equally bright future as those in alcohol abuse rehab batting addiction alone. The principle difference in dual-diagnosis care is that healing is offered for both concurrent conditions and administered separately, but simultaneously. This is because each mental illness existing in one person is likely to interact with the other, serving to drive continued substance abuse. By dealing with each condition separately as if a standalone illness, it is possible to bring about overall healing to dual-diagnosis patients in alcohol abuse rehab centers.
Getting Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
At Elevate, we believe in the natural approach to detox and rehab from alcohol abuse. This is because the human body is significantly damaged when there are consistently high levels of alcohol in the system. However, it is possible to treat even the most severe cases of AUD successfully as we have seen for ourselves at Elevate Addiction Services.
We use predominantly holistic therapies to address AUD and prepare patients for a healthy life in sobriety. Holistic practices such as meditation, yoga, aromatherapy and nutritional awareness training offer patients a natural path to recovery where they can also learn more about themselves and what makes them tick. Much of the effectiveness of alcohol abuse rehab centers is down to the patient’s ability and motivation for putting themselves before substances, which is facilitated through the support of Elevate’s highly experienced addiction specialists.