Is Alcoholism a Mental Illness? Yes, Here’s Why

AUD is usually treated with multiple methods, including behavioral therapies, medications, and support groups. Alcohol use disorder is known as a progressive disease, sober house meaning that without proper treatment, it will continue to get worse. There is no set time frame for when a person typically moves through each stage.

is alcoholism a disorder

However, if you participate in an alcohol rehab program or a group like AA, make lifestyle changes and potentially take certain medicines, you can keep it under control. Alcoholism’s progressive nature is another reason it’s considered a chronic disease. Alcoholism moves through stages, and certain symptoms and behaviors mark each stage. For example, during early-stage alcoholism, the person is usually drinking larger amounts and becoming more secretive or elusive about what they’re doing.

Is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) the Same Thing as Alcoholism?

Lean into your loved ones for support and ask them to help you through this difficult time. Alcohol use disorder is diagnosed based on criteria as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). A person must meet at least 2 of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period. Additional lab tests including screening for nutritional deficiencies and blood markers of inflammation can also be useful to determine the illness stage. It can depend on how high-functioning the person with the disorder is and how long they’ve been in the cycle of addiction. Heavy drinkers and those who have lost control over responsible alcohol consumption also markedly increase their chances of dying from automobile accidents, homicide, and suicide.

Many people who consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol deny that alcohol poses a problem for them. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) is a blood test that helps detect heavy alcohol consumption. If a blood test reveals that the red blood cells have increased in size, it could be an indication of long-term alcohol misuse. Dopamine levels may make the drinking experience more gratifying. Some people experience some of these signs and symptoms but are not dependent on alcohol. A person who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol will often not be the first person to realize that this is so.

Does the medical community recognize alcoholism as a disease?

Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of alcoholism and seek treatment for it as soon as possible. The effects of alcohol, in either case, can lead to serious long or short-term health complications, including death. As an example, drinking impacts reaction time, speed of reflex, and coordination. Getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking alters your perception of speed and distance and threatens personal safety and the safety of others on the road. If an accident does happen, unfortunately, you can find out personal injury attorney in Orlando.

  • Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of alcoholism and seek treatment for it as soon as possible.
  • A significant proportion of the disease burden attributable to alcohol consumption arises from unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to road traffic crashes, violence, and suicide.

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