Your parents, aunts, or uncles drank or did drugs. Now you abuse drugs and alcohol, too. Is substance abuse a learned behavior? Or a condition you inherit? It’s actually a little of both.
According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. and accounts for approximately 31% of fatal car accidents. More than 15 million American women and men and half a million youths (ages 12 to 17) have medically diagnosed alcohol use disorder (AUD), commonly referred to as alcoholism. The NIH defines AUD as a relapsing brain disease that’s characterized by:
But since drinking wine, beer, and spirits is such an accepted part of our culture, you may not even notice, at first, that you’ve slipped from social drinking to problem drinking or AUD. The expert psychotherapists and clinicians at The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling & Clinical Supervision suggest calling for a consultation if you’re in doubt or if you meet the criteria for AUD.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines moderate drinking as no more than one drink per day for a woman and no more than two drinks per day for a man. But if you’re pouring your own drinks, you could be consuming far more than the recommended amounts.
One 12-ounce beer is a considered a single drink, but malt liquor has a higher alcohol content than beer, so it only takes eight to nine fluid ounces to be considered a full drink. Just half a glass of wine (five ounces) counts as one drink, and only 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, such as gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey constitutes a full drink.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as raising your blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 g/DL. A woman can do that by drinking two large (10-ounce) glasses of wine in the space of two hours. A man could do the same with three extra-large shots. If you binge drink for five or more days in a given month, you’re considered a heavy drinker and at risk for having or developing AUD.
Doctors now classify AUD into three categories, based on how many of the 11 symptoms you have. They classify you as having mild AUD if you two to three of the following symptoms, moderate AUD if you have four to five symptoms, and severe AUD if you have six or more symptoms:
If you think you have mild, moderate, or severe AUD, or if you think alcohol might be at risk, contact the experts at The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling & Clinical Supervision.
At the Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, we custom-design individual and group therapy to help you manage your AUD and resolve any underlying issues that might be contributing to your condition. You also learn coping mechanisms and strategies so that you can better control your cravings. In some cases, your counselor may recommend medications to help you manage symptoms.
Don’t wait until you know you have a problem. If you suspect you have AUD, or if alcohol is causing trouble in your life, contact the experts at The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling & Clinical Supervision by phone or online form.
You Might Also Enjoy...
The world is messed up. You’re a failure. Everyone’s out for themselves. If you’re caught in a trap of negative thinking like that, you have false beliefs that reduce your enjoyment of life. Cognitive therapy helps switch that around.
Feeling anxious is a normal response to troubling or uncertain times. If your anxiety persists, however, it becomes a trouble, too. Despite what’s happening in the world or in your life, you don't have to feel overwhelmed by fear. You can get help.
Whether you were a child when it happened or whether it happened this morning, sexual abuse is a traumatic event that can affect every aspect of your life for years or decades. How do you cope with the aftermath of an act you never wanted?
You’ve heard that a new therapy called “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing” (EMDR) helps you process trauma without spending years in an analyst’s chair. What is EMDR? How does it work? And is it really as fast as everyone claims?
You always swore that if you got cheated on, you’d leave. Immediately. But now the worst has happened, and you wonder whether it’s better to leave or stay and repair the relationship? Couples’ counseling helps you answer those questions and more.