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Preventing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): A Comprehensive Guide

Preventing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): A Comprehensive Guide

Alcohol consumption can lead to serious health consequences; hence, immediate steps should be taken to prevent alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol is an intoxicating organic compound that can depress the central nervous system (CNS). Although alcohol intake can produce short-term pleasure and relief, it can result in many physical and mental health-related issues. If a person is consuming alcohol more than one’s liver can metabolize, it circulates in the blood, causing serious damage to one’s health.

If you or your close one is struggling with alcohol dependence, you can seek professional help from Confidant Health. It is an online platform that offers Medication-Assisted Treatment to treat and prevent alcohol use disorder. 

Who is at risk of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

Although AUD can occur in any person, the following individuals are at increased risk for AUD.

  • People with mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and stress.
  • People struggling with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Family history of alcohol consumption
  • Male gender
  • Social environment and reinforcement for alcohol intake. For example, persuasive advertisement, peer pressure, or bar job.

Some alarming signs indicate that one is moving towards alcohol use disorder.

  • A man is consuming more than four drinks per day for a week
  • A woman is consuming more than three drinks per day for a week
  • A person is binge drinking once a week. Binge drinking refers to consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women.

 Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

The following are the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder to keep in check to prevent alcohol abuse.

Behavioral signs

Physical signs

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Impaired immune response
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Tremors and hallucinations

Withdrawal Symptoms

It’s very challenging to stop alcohol consumption, usually because of the withdrawal effects associated with excessive alcohol intake. Sometimes people get more addicted to alcohol in an effort to  prevent withdrawal symptoms. Although their alcohol intake may fluctuate, a person should start considering the prevention of alcohol to avert more serious damage. Some of the Withdrawal effects for which we need to keep an eye on, are body aches, trembling, sweating, loss of appetite and sleep, paranoia, hallucinations, and irritability.

Excessive alcohol use can not only damage a person’s body and mind drastically but also affect one’s relationships and work. Prevention of alcohol misuse  at the right time is essential for one’s self and surroundings.


The term “Alcoholism” has been used for centuries until it was disapproved by the World Health Organization in 1979. “Alcohol use disorder (AUD)” is the more favored term nowadays.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD)

When a person cannot stop consuming excessive alcohol despite its serious damaging effects on one’s mind, body and surroundings, it is referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol consumption causes increased blood alcohol content (BAC), which depends on factors like a person’s sex and Body Mass Index (BMI). The legal limit of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08% in the United States. Above this limit, a person is legally intoxicated.

Screening of AUD

Screening for improper use of alcohol is also an important step in diagnosing alcohol use disorder. Screening can be done by different questionnaires. Some of them are listed below,

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Emotional State in AUD

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a progressive disorder in which a person's mental and physical health deteriorates with time and alcohol consumption. That’s why an evaluation of a person’s emotional state can tell us the disease progression in a certain individual.

Four phases of emotional state evaluation after alcohol consumption are discussed below,

  1. In the first phase, people get to drink alcohol for the first time in their life. They are happy and excited to try something new and become a part of a certain culture.
  2. In the second phase, people seek the pleasure they get to taste for the first time. Eventually, they get addicted to alcohol in desire for that pleasure.
  3. In the third phase, people are addicted to alcohol. They don’t know when to stop. The Consequences of their addiction starts affecting their personal, social, and work life. Damage to their emotional and physical health worsens.
  4. In the last phase, people are usually in denial of alcohol dependence. It’s hard for them to determine what’s wrong or right. This causes serious damage to their health, causing major organ damage or even premature death.

Pregnancy and AUD

Prevention of alcohol abuse is critical in pregnancy for fetal well-being. A pregnant mother should know when to stop alcohol use to prevent “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders” such as the fetus's small head size, abnormal appearance, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Alcohol Use in The United States

Alcohol dependence takes around 3 million lives every year worldwide. It takes around 141,000 lives in the United States annually. Alcohol is the most easily available drug in the United States which is misused on a very large scale. A vast majority of American adults consume alcohol.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 5% of people aged 12 or more had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2019. Among all the states, California has the highest number of alcohol-related deaths.

Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

There are a variety of options for the management of alcohol abuse.

Psychological treatment

Alcohol addiction is treated with social support to help discontinue excessive alcohol use. Psychotherapy and counseling are used to bring alcohol consumption to moderate limits and to prevent relapse of harmful alcohol addiction.


Most people consuming alcohol find it challenging to stop alcohol misuse  due to its withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepine, Phenobarbital, or Propofol is given for the treatment of alcohol dependence and to reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with it.


The following drugs are mainly used in the United States of America to manage alcohol use disorder.

  • Acamprosate
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram

Some anti-depressant drugs are also prescribed as supportive therapy for people dealing with depression and other psychological conditions related to withdrawal symptoms of alcohol to prevent relapse.

Prevention of Alcohol abuse

If alcohol misuse is prevented, alcohol-related health diseases and costs can be managed. Less effort is required to deal with the harmful consequences of alcohol preventatively.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins forces with national governments to form certain policies regarding alcohol use and distribution to prevent  drastic results. Campaigns, strategic programs, and guidelines to help adults are introduced to prevent alcohol misuse  and improper distribution.

Benefits of prevention of alcohol

  • It can help save billions of dollars the US government spends annually on alcohol-related costs.
  • Increases work efficiency.
  • Decreases alcohol-related health diseases.
  • Reduces motor vehicle accidents caused by driving after a high intake of alcohol
  • Increase the life span of individuals subjected to alcohol
  • Results in better personal and social relations. 

Before starting to work on alcohol prevention, certain vital factors need to be kept in mind, including,

  • Whether a person has Alcohol use disorder (AUD) or not.
  • Drinking patterns of alcohol consumption.
  • Family history and culture.
  • Effects of excessive alcohol intake on a person.
  • A person’s dependence on alcohol.

 Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in Teens and Young Adults

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is more common in teenagers than adults due to peer pressure, schooling, family history, and social culture. It is very important to prevent teenagers from alcohol misuse because they are more prone to drug misuse Cessation of alcohol at the right time in their life is necessary to prevent damages associated with it.

Psychotherapy and social awareness can be effective methods to prevent alcohol use disorder in teens and young adults.

Health Risks of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in Teens and Young Adults

Underage excessive alcohol intake can pose various health risks, such as the following.

  • Growth retardation
  • Delayed development of sexual characteristics
  • Depression and increased suicidal thoughts
  • Alcohol-related dementia
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Cognitive defects
  • Brain developmental defects

Ways to prevent alcohol misuse in teenagers

Here are some strategies that can help in the prevention of alcohol dependence in teens:

  • Legal measures: Enforcement of laws that keeps a check and balance on alcohol outlets making sure they don’t sell liquor to minors.
  • Liquor-free environment: Create a safe alcohol-free home space for your children, so they don’t get their hands on the bottle when they’re depressed or elated. Try not to drink in front of your children and set a good example for them.
  • Counseling: Develop a good relationship with your children so they can honestly discuss their struggles. Provide awareness regarding the damaging effects of alcohol abuse on emotional, social, and physical health.
  • Positive environment: Create a positive environment for yourself by making friends who do not drink. Peers who encourage you to do healthy activities.
  • Support group: A support group will help you to keep your alcohol consumption in check to reduce the risk of alcohol addiction. It can give you supportive friends who can understand your struggle and help you recover.

Health Risks of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in Adults

Alcohol dependence takes a serious toll on a person’s well-being. Some of the harmful effects include,

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart and liver diseases
  • Cancer of the liver, pancreas, larynx, and Gastrointestinal tract.
  • Dementia
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, Sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Psychological disorders
  • Recurrent infections due to decreased immunity

Prevention of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in adults

A few steps towards a better life by preventing excessive alcohol intake are:

  • Safe drinking: An adult should follow The Dietary Guidelines regarding the safe limit of alcohol consumption. He or she should be able to limit their drinking to a moderate level rather than excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid triggers: Every person has his struggles which later become triggers for the need to binge drink. For example, the loss of a loved one, an alcohol prevalent environment, and high-stress levels.
  • Support programs: Support programs teach how to control stress and other trivial thoughts to stay optimistic. It helps to prevent suicidal and homicidal thoughts, an act of self-harm, and other alcohol misuse-related harm Avoiding these triggers can prevent AUD in adults.
  • Seek treatment: Proper medical treatment for eliminating alcohol is the most demanding step. An adult should seek treatment for alcohol dependence, psychotherapy, and detoxification to avoid withdrawal effects and addiction relapse.

Confidant Health provides professional help to treat and prevent alcohol use disorder. Through Medication-Asisted Therapy (MAT), this online platform offers psychotherapy and medications to overcome alcohol dependence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered excessive drinking?

The  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) divides excessive alcohol intake into two categories depending on the amount of alcohol consumption.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking refers to the condition when a male drinks five or a female drinks four bottles of alcohol on one occasion.

Heavy drinking

Heavy drinking refers to a person having had five or more episodes of binge drinking in the past month.

How to reduce alcohol consumption safely?

Like any other substance misuse, alcohol dependence can be  accompanied by serious withdrawal effects. It should also be tapered off slowly to reduce its consumption safely. A safe way to reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed daily is by an initial 10% reduction and then cut it down to a further 10% after a week.

How to reduce the effects of alcohol?

When consumed, the liver takes time to metabolize the alcohol. Here are some tips that can be followed to reduce its effect meanwhile:

  • Drinking coffee can keep a person alert after alcohol intake.
  • Taking a cold shower.
  • Taking a meal before or during drinking can also slow down alcohol absorption into the body.
  • Taking a nap can also help to avoid the harmful effects of alcohol
  • Exercise results in fast metabolism and will make a person more alert to his surroundings.

How can I drink less without quitting?

  • Set a limit for yourself to ensure a fixed amount of alcohol is  consumed.
  • Keep aside a fixed amount of money you’ll spend on buying alcohol. .
  • Let your friends and family know you’re reducing your alcohol intake so they can morally support you.
  • Try drinking in a small glass.
  • Replace highly concentrated alcohol with low-concentrated alcohol beverages.
  • Keep good non-alcoholic options with you.
  • Try to drink only at night and delay the day's first drink.

Can I stop drinking on my own?

You can start reducing your alcohol levels by simple small steps such as counting your drinks and not keeping alcohol at home. But stopping drinking alcohol on your own can be  a tricky thing to do.

Depending upon your alcohol consumption history, withdrawal effects can be life-threatening.  It is better to join a support group and properly consult a health professional before stopping alcohol use.

Consult with Confidant Health’s Professionals

Confidant Health is an online platform where you can consult with consultants who provide professional guidance to help you overcome alcohol-related problems. Medications and behavioral therapies offered in MAT therapy can reduce the cravings for alcohol intake and decrease the chances of relapse. You can consult with a Confidant Health’s professional by downloading its app

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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