What Is Alcoholism?

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.
Here are the links:
http://www.aa.org
http://www.alanon.org
http://www.alanon.org/for-alateen

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19 thoughts on “What Is Alcoholism?

  1. Hello Kati! #KatiFAQ I have a question, how does on get past dissociation? I've been dissociating for the past 5 weeks. Personally I would rather be super depressed than dissociated b/c At least w/ depression you can "feel" something. ALSO CAN YOU PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO A VIDEO ON FASD?! I try to ask you as often as I can, because It would be really insightful for people to know about b/c it affect me and probably a lot of other people alot, it has a big impact on my life. Love your video to bits! Have an awesome day.

  2. Hey, just wanna you know your videos are really informative and helpful!!! Thank you so much~~~ BTW I recently found myself tend to use alcohols to destress, and now I feel like I really need it. Not like on a friday night drinking with my friends, but in the middle of the day, when I am in class, I feel like I really really need a drink. After watching this I decided to talk to my therapist about it. XO best wishes

  3. Thanks for this video, Kati. Alcohol use disorder has always been a touchy subject for me, as it's what caused my mother's death, which in turn led to a miserable childhood with an abusive stepmom. Slowly but surely I'm coming to terms with her death, and now I feel it's somewhat of an obligation for me to prevent myself and my loved ones from abusing alcohol in the future.

  4. What you've just said was so true Kati, I have a lot of alcoholic colleagues who never sought help from professional doctors who can help fix their slightly excessive drinking habits , which tend to go from bad to worst..never admitted that they are alcoholics..me too I'm also alcoholic , as of now I'm reading a book from AA which helps me a bit..

  5. Hi Kati could you talk about how and why the IUD Mireya causes chronic fatigue, mental fog and depression? Tnx!

  6. Hi Katie, I started seeing a therapist three weeks ago because of my suicidal thoughts and I also started group therapy which helps a lot. I already feel loads better and it's such a relief. But it also worries me that I started feeling better so quickly. It makes me wonder wether or not I had a real problem or maybe I just had a bad moment that has passed and therapy isn't necessary… I also worry that my therapist or people in group therapy will think that I just made it all up because i need attention or because I'm bored… Is it normal to get such a huge energy kick just from a few sessions? Thanks, love you XXX

  7. Kati! I have a question, do you mind making a video about the differences between a school counselor and a therapist/counselor? That would be so helpful if you would make this video.Thank you for your time!

  8. hey Kati I love ur videos. Im 14 and i was wondering if u could give me an idea of what's wrong with me I keep seeing shadows and people that arnt their and I hear voices I can't concentrate in school anymore and when i try to put sentances togather it just dosent work somtimes, I can't tell my parents because I'm not close with them at all and it's just getting worse please help.

  9. Hi Kati. I'm not sure if this is the right place to do this but i wasn't really sure where else to so yeah. I struggle a lot with what i think is anxiety and maybe depression. I'm constantly stressed and worried about silly little things or sometimes nothing at all and i'm really sick of crying myself to sleep. I've tried getting help as well. I talked to my school counselor who made me fill in some sheets and said i probably had GAD and that he'd call my mum and catch up with me again, he did neither and hasn't talked to me since. So i talked to my mum myself and after a lot of convincing she took me to the GP who recommended that i do yoga. My mum has never booked any classes though and just gets mad at me or tells me to take a chill pill when i'm obviously panicking. I'm feeling very alone and upset and isolated and i've started having harmful thoughts. I'm not really sure where to go from here. Any suggestions?

  10. can you please make a video on being out of touch with reality ? I have social anxiety and isolate myself a lot and have like a whole different world in my head. Probably cause I'm lonely but I just wanna know if it's unhealthy and I should stop doing it.

  11. this is great… thanks for touching on al-anon…it changed my life…maybe in the future do a vid on support for families of addicts… it helps the addict and the family…pls do!! much love xoxoxo

  12. Kati, what are your thoughts on using Opiates, in place of benzodiazepines, to ease physical symptoms of anxiety?

  13. Could you pls do a video on the impact on kids or youth with drug addicted parents? Or kids that have parents with A mental illness such as Schizophrenia

  14. My dad's side of the family is riddled with Alcoholics :/ After he died I did little contact with them as possible after one Thanksgiving my Aunt called me up, drunk and had me in tears. So I distanced myself as much as possible cause I was a kid but knew better.
    When I was diagnosed with Bipolar I thought they might have it due to how much they drank to hide their problems :/
    Doesn't this all boil down to addiction? If addicted to one thing you are more likely to be addicted to other things?

  15. I have a friend w an alcohol problem. We've met in hospital and she has anemia and knows this but still drinks on the ward (goes out of her way to get alcohol on the ward) and she ends up fainting. It's so sad to see because she's still in so much denial about her problem. I just want to rattle her and make her aware but nothing seems to be getting through. Sigh

  16. thank you!! also thank you that you mention Al-Anon and Alateen, such a helpful place ,O)

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