Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Davis Sugar, M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Davis Sugar, M.D.

on May 2, 2024

Also known as alcohol addiction or alcoholism, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that involves uncontrollable drinking. Comprehensive treatment for AUD is available at Ohio Recovery Center.

Alcohol is a habit-forming substance with a vast range of short-term and long-term health risks, including AUD.

If you are finding it difficult to stop drinking on your own, we can provide the care and support you need to achieve and maintain sobriety. 

Here at ORC, a peaceful countryside setting, removed from many of the distractions of life, offers an ideal environment for healing and recovery.

Our full range of inpatient treatment options for AUD can meet a wide range of individual recovery needs, no matter the severity of your condition.

Equally important to recovery are the 55 acres that make up our campus, with men-only and women-only cottages, a pond, hiking trails, a fire pit, a baseball field, and more. 

Get Started On The Road To Recovery.

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(419) 904-4158

Our Treatment Options For AUD

Treatment of alcohol use disorder at ORC is personalized to meet your specific needs. Our medical and clinical professionals may recommend the following interventions as part of your treatment plan. 

Medical Detoxification

For many people with AUD, the first step in treatment is medical detox, or withdrawal management.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be particularly difficult, and even dangerous, and are a big reason why many people can’t stop drinking on their own. In fact, it is often recommended not to quit drinking “cold turkey” because of these risks.

Our compassionate team of medical professionals can help you through this challenging step in recovery, offering 24/7 medical supervision, care, and support.

Inpatient Care

Detox is not considered full treatment for AUD, so your care team will recommend further treatment to get to the roots of why you developed an addiction, strengthening your recovery.

People with milder addictions may be good candidates for outpatient programs, while people with moderate to severe addictions, or those who have relapsed, may achieve better results with inpatient treatment.

ORC’s inpatient program keeps you connected with the same care team that helped during withdrawal but also provides one-on-one therapy, life skills education, peer support groups, and more.

Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other evidence-based therapy options at Ohio Recovery Center can help you recognize and change harmful beliefs and behaviors.

Individual therapy sessions and group therapy sessions will be part of your treatment plan, as both are proven to help with long-term recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Like many other health conditions, AUD is treatable through the use of medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA-approved medications for AUD include:

  • acamprosate
  • disulfiram
  • naltrexone

In order to be effective, these medications are paired with therapy or counseling. This is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

MAT services at ORC offer a full range of options to meet your specific needs.

Peer Support Groups

Ohio Recovery Center also offers peer support groups as an evidence-based treatment option.

Perhaps the most well-known of these is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which has helped thousands of people stay accountable in recovery, offering encouragement and fellowship.

Our clients also have secular options for peer support, or those that don’t require surrendering to a higher power to achieve sobriety.

Continuing Care

Completing treatment is definitely something to celebrate! To keep your success going, our aftercare coordinator will meet with you and your care team as you near treatment completion to discuss care options going forward.

This may include setting up therapy sessions for you, connecting you with local resources in your area, asking if you’d like to join our alumni program, and more.

Learn More About Alcohol Use Disorder

AUD is caused by a pattern of heavy drinking on a regular basis over a prolonged period of time.

Long-term exposure to high levels of alcohol causes the brain to begin to rely on alcohol to maintain your internal chemical and mental balance. 

This effect is known as alcohol dependence, a condition that can trigger uncomfortable or even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if an alcohol-dependent person stops drinking suddenly.

Along with physiological dependence, the effects of alcohol may also trigger mental and behavioral changes as drinking becomes habitual and associated with feelings of pleasure, comfort, or escape.

Alcohol Use Disorder Risk Factors

Anyone can develop an AUD, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, body type, or social class.

However, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood that a person may develop an AUD, including:

  • frequent binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men, or four or more drinks on an occasion for women)
  • a family history of alcohol abuse or other substance use disorders
  • mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • experiencing a high-level of stress or personal trauma
  • childhood exposure to heavy alcohol consumption
  • drinking alcohol early, as an adolescent or teenager
  • spending a lot of time with people who have excessive drinking habits

Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder

An AUD will likely impact every part of your life, including your relationships, mental health, behavior, physical health, and day-to-day activities.

These common and predictable effects are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (the DSM-5), and are used to diagnose an AUD and evaluate its severity.

Key effects and symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:

  • you have tried to stop drinking or cut back on the amount you drink, but you haven’t been able to stick with it
  • you drink more or longer than you plan to
  • you have difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating on things because you want to drink
  • you spend a lot of time getting alcohol, drinking alcohol, and recovering from hangovers
  • drinking interferes with your daily experience at home, work, or school
  • you have given up important obligations or former passions to drink
  • you drink even if it causes problems with your friends or family
  • you’ve experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you’ve stopped drinking
  • you drink despite understanding that it is harming your mental or physical health
  • because of a high alcohol tolerance, you have to drink more than you used to
  • you’ve participated in risky behavior while drunk, including high-risk sex, fighting, or drunk driving

Learn more about alcohol’s side effects.

Alcohol Use Disorder Risks

The short- and long-term risks and health conditions linked with alcohol use disorder are severe and varied. 

Risk Of Severe Injury Or Death

AUD is strongly associated with alcohol-related deaths and severe or lasting injuries, which can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicide, and alcohol poisoning/overdose.

Legal Or Financial Jeopardy

As with other forms of substance abuse, AUD greatly increases a person’s risk of committing or being a victim of violent crime, arrest, and other legal problems.

Alcohol addiction also makes it harder to find or keep a job, endangering a person’s or family’s financial security.

Increased Cancer Risk

Excessive alcohol intake is linked with an increased risk of developing a variety of different types of cancer, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon, and breast cancer.

Birth Defects

Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, as well as the baby’s risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves irreversible physical and developmental effects.

Liver & Organ Problems

Heavy alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for liver disease, including fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and fibrosis/cirrhosis of the liver.

Heavy drinking can also damage organs and bodily systems such as:

  • pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • bones (osteoporosis, low platelet count)
  • digestive system (gastritis, stomach/esophageal ulcers)
  • sexual/reproductive organs (low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, menstruation problems)
  • heart (high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, stroke)
  • immune system (increased risk and length of illness)

Neurological Issues

Problem drinking and AUD can cause a variety of neurological problems, ranging from blackouts and short-term memory loss to a unique form of dementia.

Mental Health Problems

Even though many people use it as an escape, alcohol use can worsen mental health and may trigger serious mental health conditions including sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and more.

If you or a loved one is experiencing alcohol addiction, help is available. Contact Ohio Recovery Center today for more information.

Alcohol Use Disorder FAQs

Read more about the most commonly asked questions about alcohol use disorder below.

Forms of alcohol abuse can include excessive drinking, drinking alcohol despite a declining quality of life, and any drinking by people under the age of 21.

An alcoholic nose, also known as a “whiskey nose,” is a slang term for rhinophyma, a medical condition that causes the nose to appear swollen, red, or bumpy.

Although alcohol does not cause rhinophyma, the skin condition rosacea can become irritated due to the flushing or reddening of the face when a person drinks excessively.

Alcohol poisoning can be extremely dangerous and is a real risk for people who engage in excessive alcohol consumption, which can be defined as heavy drinking and binge drinking.

Drinking large quantities of alcohol can lead to an overdose, which can result in life-threatening health problems or even death.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least five alcoholic beverages for men, or four alcoholic beverages for women, in a short period of time (two hours or less). Binge drinking is viewed as a form of excessive alcohol use that can have long-term health effects.

Alcohol stays in your system for about one hour per standard drink consumed, and alcohol testing can detect alcohol use for about 72 hours after your last drink.

A functioning or high-functioning alcoholic describes a person with an unhealthy pattern of high alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence who is still able to maintain their relationships and keep up with their daily responsibilities.

However, people with AUD who are highly functioning may still experience serious social, physical, and mental health consequences if their alcohol consumption continues or increases long-term.

Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) often face a wide variety of challenges that may have long-lasting effects on their overall health and well-being as adults.

These can include:

  • smaller size and unusual appearance
  • hearing, vision, or motor issues
  • behavioral issues, including an increased risk of substance abuse
  • problems with emotion regulation, impulse control, hyperactivity, learning, and memory
  • increased risk of mental health problems

These issues can produce lifelong challenges for those who experience FASD, especially if they are not provided with effective early treatment.

Learn more about fetal alcohol syndrome in adults.

Find Treatment At Ohio Recovery Center Today

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol use disorder, call us today to find the compassionate care you need.

  1. American Psychiatric Association (APA) - Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM–IV and DSM–5
  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) - Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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