Signs of Addiction

How to Determine Whether you Have Alcohol Use Disorder

An increase in drinking during coronavirus lockdowns has some concerned that addiction will go untreated during the pandemic. Stress regarding the health and economic crisis may explain some of the higher levels of alcohol sales. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, millions of Americans suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, but only a small percentage seek treatment. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is “characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”

To determine whether you have AUD, you can perform a self-assessment. Some of the questions to ask, including whether in the past year have you:

  • “Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving – a strong need, or urge, to drink?”

View the current DSM-V diagnostic criteria here. Alcohol use disorder is divided into three sub-classifications including mild, moderate, and severe. Mild is the presence of 2 to 3 symptoms, moderate is the presence of 4 to 5 symptoms and severe is the presence of 6 or more symptoms. It is recommended that you seek alcohol treatment when there is the presence of 2 or more symptoms as it is an indication of alcohol use disorder.

In addition to over 14 million adults, it is estimated that over 400,000 adolescents from 12 to 17 years old have AUD. Recognizing that you have an unhealthy relationship or dependence on alcohol is one of the first steps. If you answer yes to two or more of the diagnostic questions provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, you should seek treatment immediately.