Alcohol Use Disorder

Many people drink alcohol to socialize or relax. But there can be a point when drinking habits turn into a problem.

It is important to know what counts as a safe amount of alcohol to drink and what crosses the line to problem drinking.

  • Moderate drinking – no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men is generally safe
  • Binge drinking – having 4 or more drinks for women, and 5 or more drinks for men, on one occasion
  • Heavy alcohol use – binge drinking 5 or more days in a month

Binge drinking and heavy drinking can mean that you have an “alcohol use disorder,” or AUD. An AUD is a medical condition that a doctor can diagnose. With an AUD, you lose control over how much you drink, and your drinking habits affect your physical and emotional health.

Common signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder:

  • Drinking more, or for longer, than planned
  • Trying to cut down or stop drinking but you cannot
  • Spending a lot of time being “hungover”
  • Having a strong urge (craving) to drink
  • Drinking, or being sick from drinking, gets in the way of taking care of your home or family, or your job or school
  • Continuing to drink even though you feel depressed or anxious, or even though it adds to another health problem you have
  • Getting into a dangerous situation when drinking, like driving, having unsafe sex, or walking in a dangerous area
  • Needing to drink more to get the same effect
  • Having symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, like trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating

Getting Treatment
Treatment for an AUD helps many people. But a lot of people do not get the treatment they need. No matter how serious a drinking problem is, treatment helps. The best type of treatment depends on the person. You can start by talking to your primary care doctor if you think you need help.

If you have any questions or want to find a provider who can help you, call us.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose conditions or to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you might have a behavioral health condition, please seek help from a medical professional.