What Is the Definition of Alcohol Use Disorders?
Do you know the definition of the phrase alcohol use disorders? Is it the same thing as alcoholism? Learn everything you need to know in this guide.
Alcohol use disorders are a big problem in the United States today. Did you know that 15.1 million people, age 18 and older, experience some form of alcohol abuse? This represents 6.2% of all people over the age of 17.
Do you drink to the point of blacking out?
Is getting your next drink the main focus of your day?
Does your body feel bad when you don’t drink alcohol?
It may be time to stop and look at your life and where it is leading. The first step is to understand the definition of alcohol abuse. Then, seek treatment and get your life back.
Therefore, dealing with this doesn’t need to involve embarrassing group therapy or expensive rehab. For instance, many thousands of people have completely quit drinking using this 5-star rated online course.
Alcohol Abuse Disorders Explained
When does the act of drinking alcohol cross over into a problem?
Alcohol use disorder is the medical term for alcoholism. This describes a drinking pattern that causes stress and makes it hard to finish tasks.
This disorder can vary from mild, to moderate, or severe. Even mild alcohol use disorders often get worse over time until they become severe.
One unhealthy pattern of alcohol consumption involves binge drinking. Binge drinking means five or more drinks for men. For women, it’s four or more drinks within a two-hour time frame. This behavior can result in major health and safety risks.
Heavy alcohol abuse involves binge drinking on 5 or more days a month.
Several circumstances determine how a person’s body responds to chronic heavy drinking:
- Amount of alcohol consumed
- Genetic factors
- Male vs. female (men have a higher rate of alcohol disorder than women)
- Body mass
- The overall health of the individual
Identifying an alcohol disorder early leads to fewer health problems and easier treatment.
Signs That You May Alcohol Use Disorders
An alcoholic isn’t defined by the number of drinks, but the reasons you drink. If you use alcohol to deal with problems in life or bad feelings, this is a warning sign.
Alcohol abuse levels are based on how many symptoms you experience related to drinking.
Unhealthy alcohol drinking behaviors include:
- Difficulty controlling how much you drink
- Forgetting to eat healthy foods
- Unable to “have fun” unless you are drinking
- Starting to drink earlier in the day
- Continuing to drink even if it causes physical, social or relationship problems in your life
- A lot of your time is spent obtaining alcohol, drinking it, and recovering from drinking
- Experiencing strong urges and alcohol cravings
- Feeling anxious if alcohol isn’t available
- Needing larger quantities of alcohol to achieve the same effect
- Isolating yourself by decreasing participation in workouts, hobbies, social events, and work activities
- Drinking alcohol and then engaging in dangerous activities
- Experiencing physical symptoms of withdrawal if you drink less or stop drinking
- Desire to stop drinking but having unsuccessful attempts to quit
Many people have no idea when their drinking behavior becomes harmful.
Alcohol withdrawal happens in people who have a long history of heavy drinking. Your body reacts when alcohol is suddenly decreased or stopped. Withdrawal can begin within hours of stopping drinking or up to five days later.
Signs and symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fast heartbeat
- Shaky hands
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty functioning in work or social settings
- Delirium tremens
- Coma and death
Delirium tremens (DTs) describes the severe stage of alcohol withdrawal. This involves a sudden and severe onset of cognitive and nervous system changes. DTs can also result from head injuries, infections, or illness in someone with a history of heavy alcohol abuse.
DTs occur most often in those who drink 1.8 to 2.4 liters of wine, 7 to 8 pints of beer, or half a liter of liquor daily for many months. It also happens more often in someone who has been drinking for 10 years or more.
Signs of Intoxication
How can you tell when you have had too much?
Acute alcohol intoxication describes a serious condition following excessive intake of alcohol in a short time. Sometimes this is referred to as alcohol poisoning. Intoxication can cause many negative and even fatal outcomes.
Decreased control of body temperature. When you lose temperature control, severe dehydration and/or heat exhaustion can occur. Thus, when drinking at a summertime sports event, boat outing, or in a hot tub, watch for signs of being overwhelmed by the heat.
- Fast heartbeat
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme sweating
Problems breathing and increased heart rate can occur.
The suppressed gag reflex may lead to aspiration. If someone vomits without a gag reflex. The stomach contents can go into the lungs causing aspiration pneumonia. This can lead to death.
Coma and death can result from alcohol intoxication. If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Don’t wait.
Levels of intoxication:
Sobriety or low-level describes someone who has one or fewer drinks per hour. There are no obvious signs of alcohol consumption. The blood alcohol content (BAC) measures 0.01 to 0.05%
Euphoria occurs after drinking two to three drinks for men or one to two drinks for women in an hour. You may see increased talkativeness, confidence, slow reaction time, and decrease of inhibitions.
The BAC may range from 0.03 to 0.12%. You should note that a BAC of 0.08% represents the legal limit of intoxication in the United States. Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can result in your arrest.
The confusion begins after more than five drinks for men or more than four drinks for women in one hour. Emotional outbreaks and significant loss of balance occurs at this stage. Blackouts and loss of pain sensation increase their risk of injury.
The BAC may be from 0.18 to 0.30 %.
Stupor, coma, and death are the late stages of intoxication. The person loses consciousness and control over bladder, bowels, and vomiting. Their oxygen level decreases and they can have seizures.
Their BAC can soar to over 0.4%
Risks When Drinking Alcohol in Hot Tubs and Saunas
Hot tubs and saunas combined with alcohol have caused many injuries, illnesses, and death. Risks may involve:
Dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Hot tubs and saunas obviously cause you to sweat a lot. When combined with drinking alcohol, your chance of heat exhaustion and dehydration increases.
If you start feeling bad, don’t be alone. If you or someone else has severe symptoms, call 911.
Try lowering your body temperature with cool water and ice packs underarms, behind the neck and on the groin. Drink cool to room temperature water as cold water can cause stomach cramps.
Loss of consciousness and drowning.
When you become relaxed with the alcohol and rhythmic bubbling of the hot water. You may get drowsy and fall asleep. This can also occur in saunas.
While sleeping, your body may experience dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and death. If you are in a hot tub, you may slide underwater and drown.
Lacerations. A laceration means a deep cut. This can occur if you have balance issues when drinking alcohol and fall with a glass in your hand.
- Never sit in a sauna or hot tub and drink alcohol alone
- Use plastic or paper cups
- Take breaks and drink water between alcoholic drinks
- Step out of the hot tub or sauna to cool down every 15 to 20 minutes
Have fun and relax but stay safe so you can spend time with your friends again in the future.
Personality Characteristics of a High Functioning Alcoholic
Have you ever considered that the ultimate “Go-Getter” at work may have a problem with alcohol? Many picture alcoholics as dirty bums sitting on the sidewalk with a bottle in that long brown bag. This may come as a surprise, but most people abusing alcohol don’t conform to this stereotype.
Individuals considered high functioning alcoholic or a functionally dependent alcoholic can blend in. For instance, they are often middle-aged, educated and married with a family.
Functional alcoholics can be the big corporate ladder climbers. They go to the gym, work long hours, and then return home and have a couple of bottles of wine. Members of their family may not think of this as abnormal behavior.
Functionally dependent problem drinkers don’t necessarily have a drink every day. They may exhibit a pattern of frequent binge or heavy drinking several days a week. This individual does not perceive their behavior as problematic.
Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic
Even if a person maintains a job, social, and family life without difficulty, the consequences eventually catch up. This behavior can’t last forever. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Needing higher quantities of alcohol to get drunk because they have built up a tolerance
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink alcohol
- Difficulty functioning at work or school
- Inconsistency in meeting family obligations
- Inability to stop drinking when the body has had enough
- Feeling like they must have alcohol to relax
A few more red flags include:
- Intermittent gaps in memory or blackouts when drinking
- Secretive drinking or lying about drinking
- Scheduling daily activities around opportunities to drink
- Justifying why they drink to others
- Drinking to reward themselves
- Participating in risky behavior while drinking, such as driving or dangerous sexual activity
- Often making jokes about their drinking pattern or alcoholism
The true number of functional alcoholics is unknown.
This may prove very dangerous for themselves and others. This can be the parent taking their daughter to dance and causing a fatal car accident.
Good News About Your Life After Stopping Alcohol
The chance of stopping alcohol use on your own may seem beyond you. Don’t be discouraged. There is help and your life will improve.
After you quit you can look forward to:
- Decreased risk of cancer
- More positive moods
- Looking younger
- Easier weight loss
- Brain function and focus improve
- Improvement of your immune system
- Heart health improves
- Your nervous system strengthens
- Improved sleep
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get back to your old self? It is possible.
Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorders
Deciding to seek treatment for your alcohol abuse can be the biggest decision of your life. There are a variety of programs available.
Therefore, you only need to choose the one that best suits you.
Many treatment programs strive to treat the whole person. These programs can utilize:
Most people who are worried about their drinking are not alcoholics. They are simply in a bad routine with their drinking and have failed to control it on their own. If you are drinking most days and it’s making you miserable then the Stop Drinking Expert ‘How To Stop Drinking‘ course may be the perfect solution.
It might seem too good to be true that you could possibly deal with this issue in just one day. However, that is exactly what you can expect from Craig Beck’s live Quit Drinking Bootcamp. Check the website for dates and locations near you.
This first step involves decreasing and stopping drinking. You may experience withdrawal symptoms which medical professionals can make a little easier. Therefore, by decreasing your pain, you can focus on the road to wellness.
You stay in a structured environment dedicated to treating alcoholism 24 hours a day for 30 to 90 days. They teach you about managing drinking triggers, sobriety, and even relapses.
Meeting regularly with your alcohol counselor will help you through the recovery phase.
You will examine issues that may have led you to abuse alcohol. The counselor will teach you strategies for dealing with stress and negative emotions.
Alcohol counseling can be done on an inpatient and outpatient basis.
You may worry about how to pay for treatments. Every year, over 30% of people who take part in alcohol treatment programs use insurance for payment. If you don’t have insurance or not enough insurance, the state has programs available.
You can contact the national helpline to find resources available to help you overcome alcohol abuse problems.
Are You Ready to Tackle Your Problems with Alcohol?
Our site offers one-on-one consultations, online courses, and webinars to help you achieve your goal of sobriety. You will find articles addressing a variety of topics related to alcohol disorders.
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