Quality Care

Alcohol use disorder

An uncontrollable drinking pattern that leads to alcohol dependence.

Alcohol use disorder is a drinking habit characterized by the inability to manage the amount of alcohol consumed, obsession with alcohol, or continued drinking despite adverse consequences. With this condition, you may feel the urge to continue drinking more or experience if you try to reduce or stop drinking you face withdrawal symptoms. 



Excessive drinking is harmful if it puts your health or safety at risk or creates other drinking-related issues.

You have an alcohol use problem if your drinking causes you to experience a great deal of stress and interferes with your regular activities. It might be minor or severe. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

People with alcohol consumption disorder cannot quit drinking, although it leads to other issues, emotional distress, or bodily injury. Dependent upon the number of symptoms, alcohol consumption disorder may be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Some signs and symptoms could be:

Here are some signs and symptoms of AUD

  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Disheveled careless look 
  • Spend more time with those who abuse alcohol 
  • Skip meetings, not keeping promises, or fulfilling responsibilities
  • Lose interest in hobbies
  • Get into brawls in and out of home
  • Depending on alcohol-seeking relaxation
  • Want to cut down alcohol intake but being unable to do so
  • Drink alcohol even when you know it is not safe, like when you are driving
  • Lie about your alcohol use 

How much is one drink?

As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism one drink is classified as:

  • Beer containing 5% alcohol - 12 ounces
  • Wine containing 12% alcohol - 5 ounces
  • Malt liquor containing 7% alcohol - 9 ounces
  • Distilled spirits or hard liquor containing 40% alcohol - 1.5 ounces

Physical Symptoms

People with AUD continue drinking regardless of any health or relationship problems impacting their lives. Health problems include the following:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Brain damage
  • Dementia
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Cirrhosis of the liver (alcohol related)
  • Insomnia
  • Pancreatitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Increase in heart problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms include fever, shaking, sweating, nausea, hallucinations, and even seizures when you discontinue drinking.
  • Having blackouts
  • Continuing to drink even when it is affecting relationships and work
  • Wanting a drink so badly that you cannot think about or do anything else.

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms include cognitive impairment, which results in poor decision-making. It can impact work, but you refuse to recognize your limitations under the effects of alcohol and continue to operate heavy machinery and drive, which can cause accidents resulting in injuries and sometimes death.


Causes can be psychological, genetic, or social.

When to see a doctor?

If you feel your loved one is drinking too much and causing problems, it is time to consult a doctor. You could also consult a mental health care provider or seek the help of an alcoholic’s support group. 

People with AUD may feel that their drinking is not a problem. They are in denial and refuse to recognize that their drinking is causing problems. You can help this person get treatment when recognizing the signs of AUD.

Diagnosing Alcohol Use Disorder

When you consult a doctor, you will be asked about your medical history and drinking habits. You may also undergo blood tests to assess your general health, especially your heart, liver, nervous system, and brain health.

How to identify if you have an alcohol use disorder?

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Alcohol Use Disorder can be classified into the following categories:

1. Mild: When you exhibit two to three signs

2. Moderate: When you exhibit four to five signs

3. Severe: When you exhibit six or more signs


Alcohol Use Disorder treatment will vary from person to person, depending on the needs and number of symptoms.

It may include:

Detoxification: Detox will be medically managed in which the doctor may prescribe sedatives to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Psychological counseling: It will help you understand your problem with alcohol and help in your recovery.

Oral medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to help prevent drinking.

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