Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): Signs, Diagnosis, and Effective Treatment
In recent years, alcohol use disorder (AUD), has been referred to as “alcoholism” or “alcohol addiction,” and it’s a pervasive and complex issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide.
This condition can gradually erode one’s physical, mental, and social well-being, making it imperative to identify and address it effectively. So in this article, our team at Skyward Treatment will explore the nature of alcohol use disorder and the various treatment options available.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, read on to learn how to take the first steps toward a healthier and alcohol-free life in Houston, Texas.
Defining Alcohol Use Disorder
If you have been wondering what alcohol use disorder is all about, it’s a chronic medical condition characterized by an uncontrollable and compulsive urge to consume alcohol despite its negative consequences on physical, mental, and social well-being.
It’s also more commonly known as “alcoholism” or “alcohol addiction,” and it varies in severity – ranging from mild to severe. Although, regardless of its level, it can still have a devastating effect and impact on a person’s life.
Recognizing the Signs of a Drinking Problem
It’s best to keep in mind that recognizing a drinking problem is the first crucial step toward recovery, and here are some common signs that may indicate you have a drinking problem:
- You frequently drink more or for longer periods than intended.
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your alcohol consumption.
- A strong desire or craving to drink.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Neglecting important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to drinking.
- Continued alcohol use despite knowing it’s causing or worsening a physical or psychological problem.
- Withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, such as nausea, sweating, and more.
- Increasing tolerance, needing more alcohol to achieve the desired effect.
Diagnosing Alcohol Use Disorder
Remember that alcohol use disorder is diagnosed by healthcare professionals based on specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
These criteria include patterns of alcohol use, the impact on one’s life, and the presence of withdrawal symptoms. To determine if you have it, consult a healthcare provider or addiction specialist who will assess your drinking habits and conduct a comprehensive evaluation.
Effective Treatment Approaches
Treatment for alcohol use disorder is essential to break the cycle of addiction and regain control over your life. Still, it’s best to bear in mind that the appropriate treatment plan depends on the severity of your condition, individual needs, and personal preferences.
Generally, the primary goals of treatment according to Skyward Treatment are the following:
1. Reducing Harm
The ultimate goal for many individuals with alcohol use disorder is complete sobriety. This involves quitting alcohol altogether and learning to live a sober life.
2. Reducing Harm
For those who may not be ready for full sobriety or are at a higher risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, harm reduction strategies can be employed to minimize the negative consequences of drinking – not just in Houston, but around the country too.
3. Maintaining Long-Term Recovery
Lastly, treatment should not only address the physical aspects of addiction but also provide coping mechanisms, relapse prevention strategies, and ongoing support to ensure that the individual reaches lasting recovery.
Exploring Treatment Options
Even if you think you might be suffering from alcohol use disorder, don’t fret because there are several options available for individuals across Houston – thanks to Skyward Treatment.
These options include the following treatments:
1. Residential Treatment
The initial phase of treatment involves the safe removal of alcohol from the body, often under medical supervision to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Then, certain medications, such as naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, are medically managed to help reduce cravings and support recovery. The goal of Medically-Assisted Detox is to alter how our patient’s brain responds to alcohol.
2. Residential Treatment
Most of the Residential Treatments available in Houston provide a structured and supportive environment for individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder. These programs also typically include counseling, therapy, and group support sessions.
3. Intensive Outpatient Program
Intensive Outpatient Programs offer flexibility and allow individuals to attend treatment while still living at home. They may be suitable for those with less severe alcohol use disorder or those who have a strong support system.
4. Behavioral Therapy
Various forms of therapy, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), can help individuals address the underlying causes of their addiction while developing the necessary coping skills.
Finding What Works for You
Choosing the right treatment for alcohol use disorder is such a critical decision – this is why it’s always essential to consider the following factors when making your choice:
- The severity of your condition plays a significant role in determining the level of care needed. So consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate assessment.
- Your treatment plan should be tailored to your specific needs, including any co-occurring mental health issues or personal circumstances.
- Consider the level of support available from family and friends, as their involvement can greatly impact your recovery.
- Determine whether your goal is abstinence or harm reduction, and select a treatment approach that aligns with your objectives.
- Consider your financial situation and the availability of treatment options in your area. Plus, remember that health insurance coverage may help offset the cost.
Discover Skyward Treatment in Houston, Texas
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, know that Skyward Treatment is here to help you embark on the path to recovery in Houston, Texas. Our comprehensive addiction treatment programs are designed to address the unique needs of each individual, ensuring only the highest quality of care and support.
Here at Skyward Treatment, you can rest assured that our team of experienced healthcare professionals, therapists, and counselors, are dedicated to helping you achieve sobriety.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let alcohol use disorder continue to control your life.
Take the first step by seeking help today – call us at Skyward Treatment to learn more about our programs, such as our Alcohol Addiction Treatment, and let us assist you in your journey to a healthier, happier, and alcohol-free life.
Remember, we’re only one call away, and we’re here for you.