Life Style

Alcohol Use Disorder vs. Alcoholism

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports on the number of substance and alcohol abuse patients every year which provides very important statistics and insight. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the research and statistical papers by experts report the numbers under the name alcohol use disorder (AUD). This may confuse many people more accustomed to the terms “alcoholic” and “alcoholism. In this article we will discuss alcoholism and alcohol use disorder (AUD) at length, shedding light on the differences if any. Do all alcoholics have AUD? What threshold defines alcohol use disorder? Finally, we also cover how to seek help and get treatment for both conditions at an inpatient drug rehabilitation center.

Alcohol Use Disorder

The body responsible for the definition and classifications of various mental illnesses and disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) updated the DSM-V. Last released in May 2013 which effectively combined two former distinct categorizations of abnormal alcohol use. Alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse into one mental health disorder: alcohol use disorder.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifies that an individual’s alcohol use disorder can be broken into classes: mild, moderate, or severe. Severe types of cases show physically intense withdrawal symptoms that may necessitate an inpatient drug rehab. The DSM-V lists symptoms associated with all levels of alcohol use disorder. One is considered as suffering from AUD if they meet any two of the 11 DSM-V criteria listed below.

  • Continuing to drink even after it has come between friends and family
  • Higher alcohol consumption due to increased tolerance of alcohol
  • Loss of concentration due to craving alcohol
  • Drinking larger volumes for a longer than intended period
  • Loss of ability to reduce frequency and volume of intake
  • Extended periods of sickness due to excessive consumption
  • Loss of ability to care for family or effectively accomplish job or academic responsibilities
  • A decrease in participation in important social activities
  • Placing oneself in danger or dangerous situations directly because of drinking.
  • Prevalence of drinking in the presence of another health problem, depression, and anxiety
  • Occurrence of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a term used to define persons with severe forms of alcohol dependence. Most people use the term to refer to an individual who drinks too much, however, alcoholism is a condition; more severe than simply having a lot to drink during the weekend. Persons suffering from alcoholism have multiple symptoms listed on DSM-V criteria.

When one is a known alcoholic there is still a chance to save them through an inpatient drug rehab.  Whether you are a daily heavy drinker or a weekend binger, if you drink more alcohol than expected you are suffering from alcoholism.

Is inpatient drug rehabilitation a viable solution for both?

Inpatient drug rehab represents one of the best chances a patient has to help them quit and overcome alcohol addiction. Inpatient drug rehabilitation offers expert help and insight into the alcohol recovery journey of every patient. Detoxification is the first and most important step towards full sobriety.

When done in an expertly monitored environment the medical detox offered at inpatient drug rehab centers builds strong foundations for an alcohol and drug addiction life. Medical detox can be dangerous if undertaken under unsupervised conditions. This is because withdrawal symptoms among heavy alcoholics and patients at the severe level of alcohol use disorder (AUD).


Are you personally looking for help, is a loved one suffering from either AUD or alcoholism? Enrolling in an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab is the best option to help you or your loved one. One shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit they need help, they should be encouraged to because it’s the first step to a new and better life.

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