Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. Excessive alcohol use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes males drinking more than five alcoholic beverages within a two-hour period and females consuming more than four alcoholic drinks within a two-hour window. One standard drink is outlined as:
- 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 – 9 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of unfortified wine (12% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor (40% alcohol content)
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that “alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Alcoholics will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else, regardless of the negative consequences. It is important to note that not all people who drink alcohol struggle with alcohol use disorder. Individuals without alcohol use disorder may decide for any number of reasons that he or she would like to cut back or stop drinking alcohol. Harvard Medical School suggests the following tips to help control your alcohol intake and drink more responsibly:
- Write it down: make a list of the reasons to reduce your drinking (e.g., feeling healthier, sleeping better, or improving your relationships).
- Establish your drinking goal: set a limit on how much you will drink.
- Journal: for three to four weeks track and document every time you have a drink to make sure it aligns with your drinking goal.
- Don’t tempt yourself: removing the alcohol from your house can help limit your drinking.
- Drinking is not a race: remember to take your time when you drink and drink slowly.
- Never drink on an empty stomach.
- Select alcohol-free days: pick one or two days each week to abstain from drinking and be mindful of how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your system on those days.
- Say no: avoid succumbing to peer pressure.
- Self-care: stay busy and integrate self-care practices into your daily routine (e.g., exercise, eat nutritiously, meditate, read a book, watch TV, paint, etc.).
- Lean on loved ones: cutting down on your drinking can be difficult, and the support of family and friends can make a world of difference.
Some may need a little additional support, and there is no shame in seeking the advice of a professional. There is a vast network of highly qualified mental health providers that have expert knowledge and extensive experience in treating individuals that wish to stop drinking alcohol.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.