What is alcoholism & how do we treat it? Alcohol Use Disorder / Kati Morton, Today we talk about alcoholism or what the DSM 5 calls it now “alcohol use disorder.” There are many alcohol related disorders in the DSM: alcohol use disorder, alcohol intoxication, alcohol withdrawal, other alcohol induced disorders & unspecified alcohol related disorder. The last two disorders are sort of catch all types of disorders if you don’t quite meet the criteria for one of the others listed. Now that you know the landscape of alcohol disorders, let’s get into alcohol use disorder:
There are 11 criteria (or symptoms) that the DSM discusses, and in order to be diagnosed with this, you must have at least 2 of them. These symptoms or criteria must have occurred within the last 12 months.
1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amount or over a longer period than was intended.
2. There is a persistent desire to or unsuccessful effort to cut down on alcohol consumption or control it’s use.
3. We spend a lot of time in activities necessary to obtain alcohol.
4. Craving or intense urge to use alcohol.
5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems, caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced due to alcohol use.
8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol use.
10. Tolerance: when it takes more alcohol than it used to in order to get the same effect.
11. Withdrawal: please be careful with this! It can be life threatening to quit cold turkey without the supervision of a doctor. So please reach out for help prior to just stopping on your own.
Treatment options: We could start by going to a detox house in order safely stop drinking. Then we can step down into a hospital program or inpatient treatment center. I say those separately because inpatient treatment centers can be in homes and much more warm and therapeutic than hospital programs. After that we can move out into a recovery home or halfway house and do day treatment (this allows us to slowly transition back to into life and they believe it lowers relapse rates). Then we can step down into outpatient therapy and group therapy. This could be seeing someone like me and going to AA or another group therapy available.
If you are not the one suffering from this, but are close to someone who is, Al-Anon is a great resource as well. We may not realize it, but by living with someone who is an alcoholic, we have our own struggles and issues we need to work on. Al-Anon is a great place to do that. They even have Alateen for those who are younger.
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Please watch: “Mitchell Davis talks Agoraphobia, OCD & Panic Attacks | On The Couch Ep. 3 with Kati Morton”