The term Alcohol Use Disorder (a.k.a. AUD) may be new, but it describes one of man’s first addictions.
Alcohol overuse has been around since man first started brewing beer some 10,000 years ago. Severe drinking used to be called alcoholism. Medically speaking, AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. AUD merges the previous definitions of alcohol dependence and abuse to one broad diagnosis.
Alcohol Use Disorder Can Be Mild, Moderate Or Severe
No matter what we call it, alcohol is still the king of addictions. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol misuse causes more than 88,000 deaths in America each year.
This name reflects a kinder, more politically correct term. It’s based on people first language. For example, Sue is a person who has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). First and foremost, Sue is a person.
Today, we are changing the language to say people suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 16 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder.
No matter what we call it, it’s most important to remember a few key facts:
- This is a disease.
- Individuals with this disease have a compulsive need to drink.
- People with this disease may not be able to control their alcohol intake.
- When people with this disease are not drinking, they are often in a negative emotional state.
- It is dangerous for those who are severely affected by alcohol use disorder to quit drinking “cold turkey.”
- However severe the problem may seem, most people can benefit from treatment. They can overcome their alcohol use disorder.
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Leslie Glass is the founder of Reach Out Recovery and the winner of the 2016 ASAM Media Award. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. Leslie is a journalist, director/producer of award-winning documentaries, and the author of 15 bestselling novels. Leslie has served as Chairman of the Board of Plays For Living, was a member of the Board of Directors of Mystery Writers of America. She has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, as a VP of The Asolo Theatre, and was a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation.