Alcoholism Treatment

If you suffer from alcoholism, it’s important to understand the basics of the disorder. With that knowledge comes hope for recovery Alcoholism Treatment. 

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

In the United States, about 14.5 million people twelve and older had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnosis in 2019.1  Although alcoholism or AUD is a treatable condition, the negative stigma surrounding substance use disorders often deters people from seeking help. This article will answer your questions about alcohol abuse, signs of alcoholism, and alcoholism treatment.

Alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that occurs when a person loses the ability to stop or limit their alcohol use even when their drinking results in negative consequences. For instance, if a person continues to drink after losing their job or being told their liver is suffering. Alcohol addiction is a severe brain disorder that requires medical alcoholism guide.2 

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Is Alcohol Addictive?

Yes, alcohol is very addictive and dangerous. For many, alcohol is a substance used to feel relief or numbness. People also continue drinking to the point of addiction to gain social acceptance.3 

What Makes Alcohol Addictive?

Did you know that one in fourteen Americans have experienced a substance use disorder at some point in their life? Mind-altering substances like alcohol flood the human brain with chemicals. Those chemicals trigger the brain’s reward system.

During continued use, the brain begins to associate alcohol or other drugs with pleasure. Over time, the brain also adapts and begins requiring more alcohol to achieve the same result, which is called developing tolerance. 3 

How Do You Know If You Are Addicted To Alcohol?

When determining if you are addicted to alcohol, there are many signs and symptoms to look for. In the following sections, we will highlight the main symptoms and signs of alcoholism. 

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

A person abusing alcohol typically begins losing interest in hobbies, missing family obligations, performing poorly at work or school, and possibly encountering legal consequences. Someone who is using alcohol may also display signs of alcohol withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, restlessness, irritability, sweating, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions.4

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Generally, a behavioral healthcare professional screens for alcohol addiction symptoms when assessing whether a person has AUD. Although an unlicensed individual cannot diagnose, it is helpful to understand the symptoms of alcohol addiction. Here are some of the common symptoms:


When behavioral health professionals review symptoms, they use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to assess whether the person meets the criteria for substance use disorder. If an individual meets the criteria for AUD, they can receive a mild, moderate, or severe diagnosis. Their level of severity depends on how many criteria they meet according to the DSM-5. 

How Easily Can You Get Addicted To Alcohol?

It is relatively easy for a person to get addicted to alcohol. An individual’s risk of becoming addicted to alcohol depends on how much they drink, how frequently, and how quickly the alcohol is consumed. There are additional factors that increase a person’s risk of AUD as well. 

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How Much Is Too Much?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is best not to consume alcohol. However, if a person is going to drink, they should drink in moderation. Moderation is considered two drinks or fewer per day for men and one drink or fewer for women.5  

How Long Does It Take To Be Addicted To Alcohol?

There is no set timeline for a disease progression in terms of how long it takes to be addicted to alcohol. Although factors like drinking as an adolescent, genetics, mental health, trauma history, and binge drinking can increase the likelihood that a person will become addicted to alcohol, there is no one-size-fits-all addiction timeline.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a medical condition in the brain that is identified when a person can no longer control or stop drinking. 

Alcohol Use Disorder vs. Alcoholism

 Alcoholism is what some would consider to be the casual or everyday term for alcohol use disorder (AUD). In addition to these terms, people also refer to AUD as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction. Each of these terms is essentially interchangeable when discussing alcohol addiction help.

Stages of Alcoholism

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), drinking levels or stages of alcoholism are split into three categories. Drinking in moderation, binge drinking, and heavy alcohol consumption are all different stages of alcoholism.6

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Regardless of how severe a person’s alcohol abuse is, most people benefit while receiving alcoholism treatment. Approximately one-third of individuals that receive alcoholism treatment have no further symptoms at their one-year follow-up.7 


Counseling and alcoholism treatments seek to help individuals change their behavior and beliefs about their alcohol use.7 

Treating Underlying Problems

In many cases, mental health or trauma are contributing to or causing a person’s substance use. Primary care providers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors can help you address the problems underlying your AUD.7 


Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is a fantastic alcohol addiction help tool for developing a sober support network in your community. It can be challenging to find a new social circle that does not use alcohol when you stop drinking. It is quick and easy to find virtual or in-person meetings on the AA website.


When a person is seeking alcoholism treatment, in many cases, they will experience alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are severe and, in some cases, life-threatening. For this reason, many individuals require a medical detox to begin their alcoholism treatment journey safely. If you need alcohol addiction help, contact a local detox to discuss their protocols.7 


In the United States, there are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcoholism. Although medication for alcoholism is not a cure, it can help with cravings and prevent someone from feeling pleasure or euphoria while drinking.7 


In alcoholism therapy, there are multiple behavioral treatments available. Current alcohol addiction statistics demonstrate the immense need for therapy and treatment of AUD. In the United States, approximately eighty-six percent of adults reported drinking alcohol during their life. 

Behavioral Treatments for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol counseling and behavioral treatments are individualized and facilitated by licensed professionals. Although some people choose to decline treatment, many people with AUD find counseling to be a valuable tool.7 
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In the addiction field, self-control is sometimes called “white-knuckling it.” It is typically successful for short periods but doesn’t result in long-lasting sobriety. There is never a wrong time to ask for help and treatment.7 


Counseling is a beneficial tool for people struggling with AUD. During counseling, you can develop skills, build a sober support network, achieve your goals, and learn to cope with triggers.7 

Therapy For Alcohol Addiction

In alcoholism therapy, there are multiple forms of treatment. The following section will briefly describe two main therapeutic approaches for alcohol addiction.  

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach used in alcoholism therapy. CBT focuses on changing a person’s thought processes and building coping skills.7 

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational enhancement therapy is also used in alcoholism therapy. This therapy helps individuals form a plan and build confidence7