When It Comes to Alcohol Use Disorder…No Choice But Abstinence

For those struggling with alcohol, there’s an argument to be made for choosing a path of moderation. It’s a good argument for some. For most, drinking is a choice whether it’s their first drink, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. For others, moderate drinking is simply not an option – the ability to moderate their consumption of alcohol is overruled by compulsion. They can never just have one drink, or even a few. Once they start, they can’t stop. For these people there really is no choice but abstinence – it offers their only real hope for success.

If compulsive drinking describes the kind of drinking you do, you’re in good company. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, one in every 12 adults suffers from alcohol abuse. Add to that several million more who engage in risky binge drinking patterns that could possibly lead serious to alcohol problems. And then there’s the fact that more than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking. Many celebrities have publically admitted to having problems with compulsive drinking – among them are Ewan McGregor, Samuel Jackson, Bradley Cooper, Jada Pinkett, Keith Urban, and Johnny Depp.

He Couldn’t Have Just One

In the case of Johnny Depp, one source close to the actor said of his drinking: “He couldn’t have just one.” While Depp has admitted that both his family and friends warned him about his substance abuse, he has denied that he is an alcoholic. Fortunately, he has recognized his problem and has publically spoken about his struggles with sobriety over the years. In his fight against the abuse, Depp has avoided movie premiers and taken to traveling with a sober buddy. More recently, however, his struggle seems to have gotten the best of him: the filming of his latest Pirates of the Caribbean feature had to be halted so that he could pursue treatment. (Depp undertook an at-home professional program.) Gossip mongers made much hay about the pressures his drinking was having on his new marriage. Now, almost a year later, the storm seems to be over. Depp returned to continue work on the film and his marriage survived the speculation.

It seems safe to say that Depp’s inability to moderate his drinking would qualify him for some type of Alcohol-use Disorder. We know that globally, alcohol-use disorder is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders and a leading cause of sickness and death. To be considered for alcohol use disorder one must exhibit at least two of 11 possible criteria.

What Is Alcohol-use Disorder?

According to criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (AKA DSM), you may have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) if in the past year you:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more or longer than you intended.
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t.
  • Spent a lot of time drinking, or being sick, or getting over the aftereffects.
  • Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else.
  • Found that drinking – or being sick from drinking – often interfered with taking care of your home or family, or caused job or school problems.
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends.
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink.
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex).
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem, or having had a memory blackout.
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want, or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before.
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off you had withdrawal symptoms such as sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure, or sensed things that were not there.

According to the DSM the presence of at least two of these symptoms indicates an AUD. The severity can be defined as:

  • Mild: The presence of two or three symptoms.
  • Moderate: The presence of four to five symptoms.
  • Severe: The presence of six or more symptoms.

If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.

Johnny Depp & the Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder