Turn on the television and you see beer commercials. Scan your social media feed and you see friends posting articles that claim a drink or two a day can help you manage stress and add years to your life. Go to any event – an office holiday party, a backyard barbecue, or a simple dinner with friends – and nine times out of ten, alcohol is the primary beverage offered.
Drinking is a rite of passage for teens, virtually a way of life for college students, and the go-to choice for young adult professionals seeking a way to wind down after work. There’s a serious issue embedded in all this alcohol use, however: problem drinking.
For decades, people with drinking problems were called alcoholics, and the condition they struggled with was called alcoholism. However, both words – alcoholism and alcoholics – are non-medical terms with no real clinical meaning. If you go to a professional therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor, you won’t be diagnosed as an alcoholic. You won’t be diagnosed with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, either: today, people with drinking problems are diagnosed with an Alcohol Use Disorder.
What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?
The latest data from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) estimate that 16 million people in the United States have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). That includes 15.1 million adults and just under 1 million adolescents. The same report indicates that only a small number of those – 6.7 percent of adults and 5.2 percent of adolescents – receive professional treatment for their disorder.
This means there are millions of people out there struggling with unhealthy drinking habits who aren’t getting the help they need. Untreated Alcohol Use Disorders can lead to severe chronic health conditions, including liver damage, heart damage, stroke, high blood pressure, and in severe cases, even death.
At Pinnacle Treatment, we can help. We offer individualized treatment programs that address the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and give you the chance to rediscover what life is like without alcohol.
If you know you have an alcohol problem, don’t wait until it gets worse.
You Can Heal, Grow, and Change With Us
If you think you may have a drinking problem, the guidelines established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) present clear criteria for an accurate diagnosis. The DSM-V defines three different levels of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): mild, moderate, and severe. To determine where you are on the continuum, mental health professionals use the following questionnaire.
In the past year, have you:
Found yourself drinking more or longer than you intended?
Tried to cut down or stop drinking, but found you couldn’t?
Spent a lot of time drinking or dealing with the side effects (i.e. getting over a hangover)?
Craved alcohol so badly it dominated your thoughts?
Experienced problems with family, work, home, or school because of drinking?
Kept drinking even though you answered yes to any part of question (5)?
Stopped participating in activities you used to love in favor of drinking?
Engaged in risky behavior, such as unsafe sex or drinking and driving, while under the influence of alcohol?
Kept drinking after a memory blackout, or despite the fact your drinking causes you to feel depressed or anxious?
Had to consume more alcohol than previously to achieve the euphoric effect you desire?
Discovered that when you stop drinking for a day or more, you experienced classic symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including problems sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, delirium/hallucinations, or seizures?
If you answer yes to…
2-3 of these questions, you meet the clinical criteria for a Mild AUD.
4-5 of these questions, you meet the clinical criteria for a Moderate AUD.
6 or more of these questions, you meet the clinical criteria for a Severe AUD.
NOTE: Only a licensed medical practitioner can give you a legitimate medical diagnosis. The questionnaire above is for your information only: it cannot take the place of an assessment administered by a mental health professional.
The most important thing to know about getting help at Pinnacle Treatment is that we work to heal the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.
That’s why our integrated model works: we lead the way in combining traditional and complementary therapies to find the right combination of treatments to address your alcohol use disorder. We begin with a full medical, substance use, and psychiatric assessment to determine the appropriate level of care. Then we collaborate with you to create a custom plan that meets your individual needs. You might begin with our medically monitored detox program, our inpatient residential program, or one of our outpatient programs.
Where you start and how long you stay depends on you: our experienced, compassionate, professional intake staff recommends a program during pre-admission and admission, but in the end, you decide. You’re the most important piece of the puzzle – if the plan doesn’t meet your needs, then it’s not the right plan for you. We can assure you that at every level of care, we’ll teach you the practical tools you need to start the journey to sustainable, lifelong recovery.
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