Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol addiction have many things in common. These similarities relate to the way alcohol causes changes in the brain. However, there are differences between the two that you may not know be aware of, and knowing the difference can help you decide which treatment is best for your overall health.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) involves the misuse of alcohol, which leads to problems in the user’s health. While it may be normal to drink on some occasions, drinking can be dangerous when an individual consumes too much alcohol too often.
Experiencing difficulties in controlling your drinking patterns and the continuous use of alcohol are signs that you have problematic drinking habits. AUD, while varying from mild to severe, can eventually lead to chronic alcohol dependence when left untreated.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
A person is addicted to alcohol when their daily functions are fully dependent on alcohol use. When they don’t drink, they suffer from withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable and even painful. These symptoms indicate that a person is alcohol dependent and suffers from alcoholism. This situation causes someone addicted to alcohol to drink alcohol again to relieve their withdrawal symptoms.
Differences Between AUD and Alcohol Addiction
While both AUD and alcohol addiction are terms that refer to issues involving the consumption of alcohol, they have several important differences.
Terms: In a clinical setting, a doctor will use the term alcohol use disorder to diagnose a patient’s drinking problem. On the other hand, alcoholism is a term typically used by the public to describe a drinking problem.
Severity: AUD has different stages of severity that include mild, moderate, and severe. Alcohol addiction is when alcohol use disorder is severe or chronic.
Methods of treatment: As severity can vary between AUD and alcohol addiction, methods used for treatment also differ. A patient struggling with alcoholism may opt for a full alcohol detox treatment with accompanying therapies. A mild form of AUD, on the other hand, may prefer treatments that involve preventive measures for severity.
How to Assess AUD
Patients with AUD are diagnosed based on the 11 criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The number of criteria met will determine whether the AUD is considered mild, moderate, or severe.
If you want to learn more about your drinking habits, the DSM criteria can help you. The assessment for AUD include:
- Drinking for longer or more than intended
- Failure to avoid or stop drinking more than once
- Drinking more often and getting sick afterward
- An intense feeling or urge to drink
- Drinking has caused major problems in your home, family, job, or school
- Continuous drinking despite the problems it has caused you, your family, or surroundings
- Losing interest and will to do things you love so you can spend more time to drink
- Getting hurt multiple times due to drinking while or before doing something (e.g., driving)
- Non-stop drinking despite awareness of how it’s affecting your mental health
- Drinking more than usual to achieve the desired effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms during an attempt to stop drinking (e.g., vomiting, tremors, hallucinations)
If any of the above apply to you or a loved one, consider reaching out for help today.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If you’re struggling to prevent habits of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, there are various approaches to treatment that can help. These alcohol addiction treatments include:
Amatus Recovery Centers Can Help Treat Alcohol Addiction
If you’re ready to break free of alcohol addiction, Amatus Recovery Centers can help. Addiction can be an extremely tough battle. But if you have the will to recover from alcohol addiction, help is available. Contact Amatus Recovery Centers at 833.631.0525 for more information on how we can help you in your fight for sobriety.