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Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), impacts millions of people every day. However, society is so accepting of alcohol consumption that recognizing a problem can be tough. In many cases, people may not even realize they’re struggling with AUD. How AUD influences your life and the lives of others varies, but because of these potential influences, it’s critical to recognize the warning signs of AUD. 

The first step toward seeking treatment for alcohol addiction is recognizing and acknowledging that there is a problem. Additionally, for people to get help for AUD, they must want it for themselves. If you feel you’re finally in a place where you want to accept your struggle and make positive, sustainable changes to your life, contact West Coast Recovery Centers. We can help you on your path to freedom and recovery from AUD today.  

Excessive Alcohol Use and Drinking in the United States

As mentioned, alcohol consumption is heavily integrated into many cultures, making it harder to recognize the warning signs of AUD or seek treatment. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 29.5 million people ages 12 and older struggled with AUD in 2022. Unfortunately, that’s a 15 million person increase from 2019. Similarly, many of those individuals may not have sought treatment. When you factor in the normalized drinking culture we see nationwide, it can seem next to impossible to recognize the signs. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make the risks and dangers of excessive alcohol use any less real. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes excessive alcohol use as “drinking five or more drinks on an occasion for men and four or more drinks on an occasion for women.” Excessive drinking can lead to many short and long-term risks. Some of those short-term health risks include: 

  • Alcohol poisoning 
  • Risky behaviors
  • An increase in violence 
  • Accident-related injuries 
  • Overdose when alcohol is mixed with other drugs 

The dangerous effects of long-term alcohol use may include the development of: 

  • Several types of cancer 
  • Liver disease 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Heart disease 
  • Digestive problems 
  • Mental health conditions 
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Memory problems like dementia  
  • Problems within interpersonal relationships 
  • Alcohol addiction 

Of course, the best way to lower the risk of alcohol-related harm is by reducing your alcohol consumption. However, if you’re already in the thick of alcohol addiction, reducing consumption may not be easy to do. That’s why recognizing the warning signs is critical. 

What Are the Warning Signs of AUD?

Not everyone will exhibit the same exact warning signs of AUD. Everyone’s journey with addiction is unique, and as such, people often experience varying effects. Nevertheless, some of the warning signs to be on the lookout for include: 

  • Abnormal drinking behavior, such as drinking more or longer than intended, frequent hangovers, or spending a lot of time recovering from drinking. 
  • Life interferences at work, school, or within relationships with friends, family, spouses, and other loved ones. 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or enjoyable activities, especially if you’re replacing these activities with drinking. 
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit, whether that includes reducing your drinking or stopping altogether, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink.
  • Increased engagement in risk behavior, ranging from driving under the influence to experimenting with other substances while drinking. 

Another sign you may be struggling with AUD is the development or onset of co-occurring mental health conditions. Have you been anxious lately? Do you find yourself feeling depressed? Are people, places, or things triggering memories of past trauma, leading you further toward alcohol consumption? Questions such as these can indicate signs of fourth trouble and even help you get to the core root of your AUD. 

Recognizing the Warnings Signs of AUD and Seeking Treatment

Of course, recognizing the signs of AUD is only the first step in a much longer journey, but that shouldn’t deter you from seeking help. Ignoring the warning signs of AUD will only lead to a more devasting impact on you and your loved ones. Thankfully, several holistic and evidence-based interventions can help. Some of these interventions include: 

  • Talk therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, and trauma work 
  • Group therapy, which has the added benefit of creating bonds with others during treatment 
  • Holistic practices, such as yoga, meditation, breathwork, and other mindfulness-based exercises  

Our treatment for AUD at West Coast Recovery Centers can help you successfully overcome your disease and create a new life of sustainable sobriety. Our integrated approach puts you on a path to living a healthier, sober life, but the first step is recognizing that there is a problem. 

Consider the warning signs indicated above, and if you or a loved one exhibits any of them, consider seeking professional help. Treatment and recovery are possible, but you must take the first step. Consider taking that step today. 

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is one of the most common mental health conditions nationwide. Unfortunately, many who struggle with AUD don’t seek treatment, either because of the wide acceptance of alcohol consumption within our culture or the stigmatization surrounding alcoholism. Nevertheless, excessive and heavy drinking can cause a number of short- and long-term effects on your mental and physical health, your relationships, and other areas of your life. The first step toward seeking treatment though is recognizing the warning signs of AUD and acknowledging the problem. To learn more about the warning signs of AUD and how we can help you begin your treatment journey, contact West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 today.