Alcohol Use Disorder | Symptoms & Treatment | Zencare — Zencare

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorders are a category of conditions in which a person regularly consumes alcohol in a way that is compulsive, and has harmful consequences at least some of the time.

Many people drink alcohol regularly without abusing it or becoming addicted. For example, looking forward to getting a drink at happy hour doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic.

However, when you frequently consume alcohol in a way that feels compulsive or that interferes with your day-to-day life, it may be worth considering whether you’re facing an alcohol use disorder.


Prevalence of alcohol use disorders

Alcohol use disorders are very common in the United states.

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

Additionally, American Addiction Centers indicate that men are about twice as likely as women to have an alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of alcohol use disorders

Symptoms of alcohol use disorders can vary from person to person. They also depend on whether you’re experiencing alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse. However, some common indicators across alcohol use disorders include:

Note that you don’t have to experience all of the above symptoms to have an alcohol use disorder. Anytime that drinking is causing problems in your life, it’s worth considering whether to seek treatment.

Find therapists who treat alcohol use disorder and alcoholism on Zencare below.

Types of alcohol use disorder

Most diagnosable alcohol use disorders fall into one of two categories:

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol Abuse

Binge drinking (consuming excessive amounts of alcohol over a short period of time) is also a common pattern of problematic alcohol use, even though it may not qualify as dependence or abuse.

Again, you don’t need to be experiencing alcohol dependence or abuse to seek help. You might pursue treatment anytime that you’re worried about your drinking and its impact on your life, especially if you have a family history of alcohol use disorders.


What to do if you’re experiencing an alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorders are generally considered highly treatable. If you may have an alcohol use disorder, you can explore the following options:

How to look for a therapist for alcohol use disorder

Look for a therapist who has a specialty in treating alcohol use and addiction  

Several different kinds of therapy have been shown to be effective for alcohol use disorders. Here are some of the most common types; click the links to learn more about each one:

You may also want to work with a therapist who has specific credentials, such as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).

Know what questions you need to ask potential therapists

These questions may prove helpful when interviewing potential therapists:

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Consider cost, location, and scheduling

Therapy will only work if it works for you. Before making an appointment, ask yourself honestly:

How will you pay for therapy?

When and where will you attend sessions?

Do you feel comfortable talking to this therapist?

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.