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Do I Have Alcohol Use Disorder?

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

An alcohol drinking problem that becomes extremely severe is medically termed as alcohol use disorder or AUD. Health surveys and studies show that in 2012; around 7.2 percent adults or 17 million people over the age of 18 in the country had an AUD. In this number around 5.7 million were women and 11.2 million are men. This does not mean that teenagers do not suffer from alcohol use disorder. In fact research shows that around 855,000 teens falling in the age group of 12-17 had an AUD.


Diagnosing Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there is a certain criterion that an individual needs to meet in order to be diagnosed with AUD. According to DSM, an individual that meets any two of the 11 criteria in the period of 1 continuous year is diagnosed with AUD. Whether the AUD is severe, moderate or mild depends upon the number of criteria met by the person.


Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder

alcohol use disorderIt is often seen that the problem of alcohol runs in the family and there are a lot of scientific studies that talk about ‘alcoholism gene’. It is true that genetics do play a very important role in influencing the chances of developing alcoholism but they are not completely responsible for alcoholism and its development. Apart from genes environmental factors also play a very important role in increasing the risk of alcoholism.

However, one cannot deny that genes do play a major role in a person’s risk of developing an alcohol problem. There are certain genes in a person
that may be responsible directly or indirectly of decreasing the chances of alcoholism in a person. For example, studies have shown that certain people of Asian descent carry a gene variant that modifies their rate of alcohol metabolism and these people avoid alcohol in order to avoid symptoms like nausea, flushing and increased heartbeat, which in turn protects them from developing alcohol.

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