Many behaviors can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder or AUD. These may include genetics, environmental situations, how much, how often, and how quickly alcohol is consumed are just a few examples.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) affects millions of people worldwide every year and is a major cause of preventable death and disability. Reducing the risk of developing AUD starts with understanding typical risk factors in the first place.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the various factors that increase the risk of AUD and provide tips on getting help for AUD.
What is AUD?
AUD, or alcohol use disorder, is a condition that affects people who drink heavily and may become dependent on alcohol. It can have serious physical and mental health impacts, including damage to the liver, heart, and brain, as well as an increased risk of certain cancers.
People with AUD may also experience changes in their behavior, such as aggression, depression, and anxiety. In addition, AUD can lead to social disruption, like the inability to maintain relationships, and loss of employment. The effects of alcohol can be especially harmful to older people with AUD, as their bodies cannot process the alcohol as quickly as someone younger.
AUD is a serious condition that can be treated with counseling and medications. People with AUD should seek help from health professionals to help them manage their drinking and improve their overall health and quality of life.
How Common is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a common problem affecting many people. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD.
People with alcohol use disorder are characterized by feeling a loss of control over their lives, heavy drinking, difficulty controlling their drinking, and alcohol dependence. Heavy drinking is defined as more than four drinks on any day for men. For women, it is more than 3 drinks per day. Alcohol dependence is the most severe form of AUD. It is characterized by an inability to stop drinking, despite the negative consequences.
The Risk Factors for Developing AUD
The risk factors for developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) are complex and multifaceted. Chiefly genetic factors, psychiatric disorders, and environmental factors.
Genetic factors can play a role in the development of AUD. Certain genetic predispositions can increase the risk of developing AUD. Additionally, psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can increase the likelihood of developing AUD. Finally, environmental factors, such as peer pressure, family history of alcohol use, and early exposure to alcohol, can also contribute to the development of AUD.
Furthermore, individuals with a history of trauma, or those who have experienced chronic stress, may be more likely to develop AUD. The risk factors for developing AUD are varied, and it is important to be aware of the potential risks to seek the necessary help and support.
What Increases the Risk for AUD?
There are a handful of factors that increase the risk of AUD that might be surprising to most people:
- The age of the first alcoholic drink: People who start drinking alcohol before the age of 15 may be more likely to have problems with alcohol later in life.
- How the body processes (metabolizes) alcohol: People who need comparatively more alcohol to achieve an effect have a higher risk of eventually developing health problems related to alcohol.
- Childhood sexual abuse (CSA): One study found that childhood sexual abuse and mistreatment significantly predicted adolescent alcohol abuse or dependence, which in turn predicted excessive drinking as adults.
- Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) surgery: When looking at a study about the effects of the surgery on alcohol use, both groups of patients increased their alcohol consumption over the seven years of the study;
However, there was only an increase in the prevalence of alcohol use disorder symptoms, as measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, following RYGB. Among patients without alcohol problems in the year before surgery, RYGB patients had more than double the risk of developing alcohol problems over seven years compared to those who had gastric banding.
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Options
Treatment options for AUD can vary depending on the severity of the disorder and the individual’s needs. For example, inpatient rehab is an intensive treatment program that provides 24-hour care and supervision. This type of treatment is beneficial for individuals who need a safe and structured environment to focus on their recovery.
Dual diagnosis treatment is also an option, which involves a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s symptoms and medical history. This is followed by a personalized treatment plan to treat co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse and mental health disorders.
Medical detox is also available for those suffering from AUD. It helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent further physical and psychological damage. Currently, three medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat alcohol use disorder: acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone.
We offer all of this and more at Agape Detox, located in scenic Port St. Lucie, Florida. Our center, staffed with caring professionals, takes a holistic and modern approach to total wellness. With our medically supported detox services, inpatient rehab, dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders, and numerous options in therapy, we strive to provide the safest and most comfortable detox process to every person who comes through our doors.
To start your healing journey, call (855) 948-2936 or click here to visit our admissions page.