Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol is the most commonly misused substance in the United States. While drinking is normalized in many cultures across the globe, alcohol is still an addictive and potentially dangerous substance, and alcohol use can spiral out of control.

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that can range from mild to severe. It is also known as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence or alcoholism.

Individuals with alcohol use disorder are unable to stop or control their drinking despite negative consequences for their relationships, careers and/or health. Early onset of drinking (prior to the age of 15), genetics, family history, mental health conditions and trauma all contribute to a greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder.

Signs of Alcoholism


People with alcohol use disorder:

  • Drink more in quantity or over a longer period than intended
  • Are unable to stop or cut down even when they want or try to
  • Spend lots of time drinking, being sick from drinking or nursing a hangover
  • Want a drink so badly they cannot focus on anything else
  • Have trouble fulfilling responsibilities at work, school or home due to drinking
  • Give up on activities that were once important or enjoyable to drink
  • Engage in risky behaviors after drinking
  • Continue to drink despite negative effects on mood or having memory blackouts
  • Have to drink larger amounts to get the same effect
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, racing heart, low mood, malaise, seizures or hallucinations

Experiencing these symptoms may indicate the presence of alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the signs described above, please seek professional help immediately.

Facts About Alcohol Use Disorder

  • About 29 million Americans struggled with alcohol addiction in 2021
  • Only <10% of people with alcoholism receive treatment
  • 23% of U.S. adults surveyed in 2021 reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the previous month
  • 84% of Americans admit to having consumed alcohol at some point
  • Alcohol misuse changes the brain, leaving the affected individual vulnerable to future relapse

Fortunately, the majority of individuals with alcohol use disorder can get well with behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or a combination as part of a treatment plan.

MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for the treatment of alcohol use disorder: naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram. These drugs can be useful in helping people to stop/reduce drinking and prevent relapse and are most effective when combined with evidence-based behavioral therapies as part of a structured treatment plan. These therapeutic approaches might include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and group therapies aimed at addressing underlying mental health issues.

At Real Recovery, we offer alcohol use disorder treatment that transforms lives and provides a strong foundation for a healthy, fulfilling life free from addiction. If you’re an adult male struggling with alcohol abuse, reach out to learn more about our outpatient treatment programs today.