Alcohol Use Disorder
Having difficulty quitting alcohol? If you are not unsure of what an alcohol use disorder is, you may have one. We’ve written this page to explain why it’s difficult for people to stop drinking and how to deal with the problem through alcohol rehabilitation.
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Alcohol use disorder affects over 600,000 people in England alone – so if you think you are addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol frequently, you are not alone.
Despite this figure, only 270,705 people were in contact with drug and alcohol services in the year between April 2019 and March 2020 – and this statistic is likely much lower when referencing alcohol use disorder treatment alone.
This is something we strive to change at AnorMed – we firmly believe that nobody should go through addiction alone, and everybody deserves the right addiction treatment.
What exactly is alcohol use disorder? Is it the same as alcohol addiction? And what does alcohol addiction treatment entail? That’s what we’re going to explore on this page.
Read on to learn more about alcohol use disorder, and to learn more about the alcohol addiction process. At AnorMed, we are addiction experts – and can find the right addiction treatment for you and your circumstances.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
The term ‘alcohol use disorder’/ AUD describes alcohol-related problems such as alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse. The term is used by medical professionals as other terms such as ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic’ are considered harmful and can contribute to the stigma of alcoholism.
Alcohol use disorder can vary in severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Alcohol abuse is generally considered a more mild form of AUD, and alcohol dependence is the more severe form.
There are several risk factors for alcohol use disorder – for example, genetics, stress, life events, psychological factors, drinking history, personality, and many more. Often, there is no single cause for alcohol use disorder; instead, it is a combination of many factors.
Alcohol dependence refers to the lack of control over alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to you building a tolerance to alcohol, meaning you’ll need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect.
Ultimately, this can lead to you becoming addicted to alcohol, both physically and psychologically. You may struggle to stop drinking without treatment, and end up relapsing.
If you are dependent on alcohol, you will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal often vary depending on the severity of your addiction.
Alcohol abuse refers to alcohol misuse – this can include binge drinking. The NHS recommends that you drink just 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over at least three days. If you abuse alcohol, you will drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short space of time.
AUD is considered a physical and mental illness – a relapsing and chronic brain disease. It can affect your life in many ways, whether it be your relationships, finances, or physical and mental health. Read on to learn more about the effects of AUD – all of which may worsen if left untreated.
Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder
Despite the fact it is widely consumed in the UK, with thousands of people drinking alcohol regularly, alcohol can be a dangerous substance – affecting your body and your mind in various ways.
Excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse also increase the risk of developing a physical dependence, which can be difficult to break.
Alcohol can have both short-term and long-term effects on your health and your general well-being. In the short term, drinking too much alcohol can impact the way you think and behave – you may do things that you wouldn’t usually do. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.
Alcohol use disorder can impact your physical health in the long term. For example, you may experience appetite and weight changes, a lower libido, concentration problems, and a weakened immune system. According to a government review, alcohol is linked to over 60 physical health issues.
Drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, and alcohol consumption is regarded as a known carcinogen.
Some cancers that are associated with alcohol include head and neck cancer, oesophagal cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.
Over time, excessive drinking can impact both your social life and professional life. You may also be at risk of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Alcohol use disorder rarely just affects the person with addiction – it also impacts loved ones too. It can have adverse effects on children – for example, their performance in school may suffer. It can also cause marital problems, financial issues, and much more.
Addiction Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
If you wish to stop drinking alcohol and start your addiction recovery journey today, our team at AnorMed can help – we know everything there is to know about treating alcohol problems.
There are many different forms of alcohol addiction treatment – for example, inpatient rehab/ residential rehab, outpatient rehab, quasi-residential rehab, private rehab, NHS-operated rehab, support groups, and much more.
However, the three key stages of the rehab process typically remain the same. Rehab begins with alcohol detoxification, then you’ll undergo addiction therapy, and finally, you’ll continue receiving support in the form of secondary treatment. Read on to learn more about the process, from beginning to end.
The first stage of alcohol use disorder treatment involves detoxing from alcohol. Depending on the severity of your dependence, you may benefit from a medical detox – which typically involves the administration of detox medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol detoxification aims at dealing with physical addiction – it’s important to note that alcohol detox alone doesn’t address any psychological, behavioural or social aspects of addiction.
However, if you are looking to book a detox, contact our team at AnorMed – we can find the best local detox clinic for you.
Alcohol Addiction Therapy
Therapy is an integral stage of addiction treatment. Through therapy, you can gain a further understanding of yourself and your addiction, and learn valuable coping strategies that can help you in times of crisis.
One size does not fit all when it comes to therapy, so you may liaise with mental health services or psychologists to determine the best course of action – especially in the case of dual diagnosis.
There is a range of therapies offered in rehab – however, some common forms of addiction therapy include CBT/ cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, group therapy, family therapy, DBT/ dialectical behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, and many more.
The support you receive doesn’t have to end when you leave the gates of rehab – you can continue receiving ongoing support throughout your recovery in the form of secondary treatment, also known as aftercare.
Aftercare aims at streamlining the transition from rehab to your daily life, providing you support in the forms of telephone support, web chat, ongoing therapy or counselling, group therapies, and much more. Ultimately, secondary treatment can help to prevent relapse – and support you if you do relapse.
Alcohol addiction recovery is an ongoing process and isn’t something that will go away overnight. However, if you put the work in and stick to your treatment plan, you’re more likely to see the results you deserve.
Call our team at AnorMed today at 01283 248 880 – we are available 24/7 and can source the right addiction treatment for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have concerns regarding alcohol use disorder? Learn more about dealing with alcohol disorders by getting the answers through our most frequently asked questions section where we talk about how rehab can help treat your addiction.
An Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a medical term used to describe a range of alcohol-related conditions, including alcohol abuse and alcoholism. It is diagnosed based on criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which assesses the severity of alcohol-related problems and their impact on an individual’s life.
Several factors contribute to the development of an AUD, including genetic predisposition, family history of alcoholism, environmental influences, early age of alcohol use, mental health disorders, and social or cultural factors. Individuals with these risk factors may be more susceptible to developing an AUD.
Alcohol Use Disorders can lead to a range of physical effects, such as liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and impaired cognitive function. Psychologically, individuals may experience mood swings, anxiety, depression, and a reduced ability to control impulses and behavior.
Yes, treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders is available and can be highly effective. Treatment options may include medical detoxification, counseling, therapy, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and behavioral interventions. Tailored treatment plans address individual needs, with the goal of achieving long-term recovery and improved overall well-being.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): https://www.samhsa.gov/
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): https://www.aa.org/
- SMART Recovery: https://www.smartrecovery.org/
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD): https://www.ncadd.org/
- Alcohol Change UK: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/
- UK SMART Recovery: https://smartrecovery.org.uk/
- We Are With You (formerly Addaction): https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/
- Turning Point: https://www.turning-point.co.uk/
- Drinkaware: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
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