You Are Not Alone
The Recovery Journey
If you realize your vision is blurry, it’s a no-brainer to see an eye doctor. If someone says you might have a sprained ankle, you don’t feel embarrassed or defensive. But what about behavioral health issues like alcohol or substance use disorders, or eating disorders?
It’s hard to admit you or a loved one might need help. And once you recognize the signs, shame or guilt may still prevent you from seeking the help you need. So getting yourself or a loved one on the road to recovery is really a two-part task. You need to recognize the signs, and then you need to seek help.
This article focuses on alcohol use disorders (AUD) — providing information on signs and symptoms to be aware of as well as treatment options. For more information on AUDs, as well as substance abuse disorders, visit www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use. For information on eating disorders, go to www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml. (These links lead to third party sites. Those companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.) If you suspect any behavioral health disorder, talk to a medical professional as soon as possible. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health are independent organizations that provide health information on behalf of your health plan.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Here are some of the criteria used to determine if someone has an AUD and whether it is mild, moderate or severe. Thinking about the last 12 months, do any of these apply to you or someone you care about?
- Tried to stop drinking, but couldn’t?
- Experienced a strong need to drink?
- Continued to drink even though it causes trouble with family or friends?
- Cut back on activities that were important or interesting in order to drink?
- Got into situations while or after drinking that increased chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink after having had a memory blackout?
- Had withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea or sweating? Sensed things that are not there?
These symptoms indicate the possibility of an AUD. See a medical professional for help for you or your loved one. No matter how bad it may seem, there are treatments and support groups that can help you get on the road to recovery. A primary care physician, nurse practitioner, psychologist or behavioral health counselor can:
- Evaluate whether a patient’s drinking pattern is risky
- Evaluate overall health
- Help craft a treatment plan
Treatment Options for AUDs
- Behavioral Treatments: May change drinking behavior through counseling.
- Medications: Can help reduce drinking and prevent relapse.
- Mutual-Support Groups: Combined with treatment led by health professionals, mutual-support groups offer a valuable added layer of support.
There is no cure for an AUD, but by recognizing the signs and seeking help, you can get yourself or a loved on the road to a brighter future.