In the United States and much of the world, drinking alcohol is considered normal. In fact, it holds an important place in the cultural landscape, serving prevalent roles in casual social occasions, dating, business, festivities, and even religious ceremonies. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 90% of American adults have consumed alcohol and approximately 70% have consumed alcohol in the last year. More concerningly, 26% have engaged in binge drinking in the last month — and that’s not counting adolescents under 18, who also have a high rate of binge drinking. The vast majority of these would not consider themselves problematic drinkers. Because alcohol use is so ubiquitous, it can be difficult for people to recognize when they have a problem drinking.
In fact, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Approximately 15 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol addiction, which is referred to in the medical community as alcohol use disorder (AUD). People with alcohol use disorder drink compulsively, experience negative emotions when they’re not drinking, and struggle to control their use. One of the surest signs of alcohol use disorder is struggling to stop drinking and repeatedly failing. Being unable to quit or control ones substance abuse can be a deeply demoralizing experience. Unfortunately stigma and erroneous media-fueled perceptions that an alcoholic is a specific kind of person who’s lost everything prevent many people from seeking help before it is too late.
How often do you experience the following symptoms: