Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that makes people feel good by triggering the release of endorphins in the brain. People often drink in social situations and it’s a regular part of many adult’s lives. Drinking alcohol puts people at risk for developing alcohol use disorder. This risk can be increased by biological factors, such as family history; social factors, such as being in a culture where alcohol is consumed often and intensely; and psychological factors, such as co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or trauma.
Alcohol use disorder can develop gradually, without the person even realizing it. It’s not always about how much or how often a person drinks, so knowing the signs can help you recognize early that it might be time to get support. Of course, like all medical conditions, alcohol use disorder should be diagnosed by a trained clinician, and this diagnosis is confidential medical information.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
But Alcohol use disorder is a condition in which alcohol consumption has become problematic, where drinking causes distress, harm, or interferes with everyday life. If drinking continues, symptoms can become more severe over time, causing issues with your health, relationships, career, and more.