What is an alcohol use disorder?
Alcohol use disorder used to be known as “alcohol dependence,” “alcoholism,” and “alcohol abuse.” In 2013, the DSM-5 joined these terms to form a diagnosable condition known as alcohol use disorder. This made it easy to identify the disorder and eradicate the stigma around the condition.
An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a drinking disorder that can result in harm and distress. It is a diagnosable condition characterized by:
- Feeling irritable, anxious, or stressed when you are not drinking
- Drink alcohol compulsively
- Inability to control how much you drink
An alcohol use disorder can be either mild or severe, depending on the symptoms. Severe AUD is also known as alcohol dependence or alcoholism. If you consume a lot of alcohol or you find it difficult to control how much you drink, it may mean you have alcohol misuse, and in some cases alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Alcohol misuse describes a single period during which you drink excess alcohol. When alcohol misuse occurs multiple times and starts to affect your total health, it can become alcohol use disorder. AUD can be further divided into severe, moderate, and mild.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, more than 14 million adults in the United States experience alcohol use disorder. In some cases, the disorder can affect your total health. It is important to note that the effects of alcohol on people are always different. For this reason, you must learn how AUD affects your health.