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Alcohol Use Disorder Defined

As Canada’s leading addictive substance, alcohol has had an impact on people around the country. What was known as ‘alcoholism’ and ‘alcohol abuse’ have been redefined as an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). An AUD classifies someone’s consumption of alcohol in three different stages: mild, moderate, and severe. Simply put, it is a pattern of alcohol use that negatively affects someone’s life and creates health and safety risks.
The American Psychiatric Association published a manual classifying Diagnostic and Statistical Mental Disorders. The newest edition (DSM-5) features a list of eleven symptoms that categorize the criteria of an AUD.
The Eleven Symptoms of AUD
1. Alcohol is consumed in large amounts for a longer period than was intended.
2. An incapability to cut back on the amount of alcohol consumed.
3. Spending a lot of time drinking and being sick as a result of alcohol consumption.
4. The inability to focus on anything due to intense alcohol cravings.
5. An inability to care for family members, focus on school, or complete tasks for a job.
6. Continuing to drink despite social and interpersonal relationship issues.
7. Giving up activities that were once important or that you enjoyed due to alcohol.
8. Being involved in dangerous situations as a direct result of drinking.
9. Continuing to drink after alcohol has caused health issues, depression, or symptoms of anxiety.
10. Drinking more due to an increased tolerance of alcohol.
11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
If you are experiencing at least two of these, it is an indication of an AUD. The severity is recognized by the number of symptoms that someone encounters. It varies between mild (2 to 3 symptoms), moderate (4 to 5 symptoms), and severe (6 or more symptoms) levels. If this is the case, we recommend that you reach out for help. The 11 drinking behaviours could harm someone’s life if the consumption continues and may lead to potential health and social issues. Intoxication impairs a person’s mental state and can alter behavioural patterns. It is important to regulate these issues as an increased consumption of alcohol leads to serious impacts. That being said, 70% of patients at Cedars seek treatment for alcohol-related addiction.
Keep in mind that alcohol consumption is individual: it is easy to hide behind comparisons to others when denial comes into play. It is important to keep updated on ways to prevent AUD development and gain an understanding of when to seek help. Rehabilitation and recovery is meant to restore a fulfilling life driven by purpose. Yes, we all have good days and bad ones, but alcohol should not be a factor that helps determine our happiness.
An AUD does not only impact your mental, behavioural, and emotional state but it also affects the nervous system. What’s more is that liquor influences your coping skills and habits, also known as brain maps. Because an AUD alters the normal functioning of the brain, the condition is classified as a Mental Disorder. The brain is a neural network that associates people’s actions with their behaviours and constructs systems that control the body’s main functions. The process is simple; consuming more liquor than your liver can metabolize permits the ethyl alcohol chemicals to disrupt the electro-chemical signaling process. As a result, a prolonged exposure to such substances changes brain structure and functioning.
Do you have goals that aren’t being achieved due to substance use? It is normal to encounter hurdles when achieving goals but the road to a healthy choice is differentiated by the effort, strength, and willingness you put in to get better. A positive and dedicated mindset leads to a fulfilling recovery
How does Cedars treat AUD?
Here at Cedars, we focus on being in touch with different cognitive and dialectical therapies and applying them using individual treatment plans. You deserve to live a confident and positive life, so make it happen! If you need help or are concerned about your well-being, feel free to contact Cedars and we will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.

Our Residential Addiction Treatment Centre

Specializing in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, Cedars at Cobble Hill also provide treatment for other process addictions including eating disorders and gambling.