AUD, or Alcohol Use Disorder, is an illness that plagues millions of people and often goes untreated unless the person gets into legal trouble because of it. While it is very common, it is still an enigma for many people. Consider the following things that everyone should know about AUD.

What Is AUD?

Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic illness that is also known as alcoholism or alcohol addiction. People who have this disorder are physically dependent on alcohol, emotionally dependent on it, or both. For those who suffer from AUD, they may not be able to control how much they drink, no matter what the consequenses are, and they cannot go too long without having alcohol, or else they will suffer withdrawal symptoms.

Why Rename It to AUD?

For a problem to be solved, the right solution must be presented. However, if a disorder is vilified and the people who struggle with the disorder are not taken seriously, it is not easy for the people who need help to find the assistance that they need. Alcoholism has been seen as a bad word, and any people who suffer from alcoholism have tended to be shamed and avoided by other members of society. Renaming alcoholism to Alcohol Use Disorder broadens the spectrum of alcohol use problems and allows the condition to be defined and acknowledged as the chronic illness that it has been all along instead of labeling it as a habit that needs to be swept under the rug.

What Treatments Are Available?

When it comes to treating AUD, the treatments vary depending on what works for the individual patient. For some people, it can be as simple as attending an AA, or Alcoholics Anonymous, meeting. Such meetings allow people suffering from AUD to meet with their peers and discuss their battles with alcohol addiction without having to worry about being judged, all while remaining anonymous to the outside world. However, going to AA meetings requires a lot of discipline, and it can be very difficult to keep up motivation to attend the meetings if a patient does not have a good support system or sponsor. 

If a more severe treatment is required, the patient may look into rehabilitation programs, usually involving a temporary stay at a rehab facility. These rehabilitation programs are designed with AUD patients in mind and tend to involve a lot of different activities so that everyone is included and so patients have a lot of different enrichments and therapies to choose from. Some scientists will even conduct studies on AUD patients, with their consent, to see how general AUD treatment can be improved going forward.

Why Are Studies Not Widely Available?

When rehabilitation facilities are too expensive for a patient, they might look into participating in a scientific study where they are monitored and their condition is recorded during observation. However, there are a lot of things that prevent potential candidates from ever getting to participate in one of the studies. The studies are often filled almost instantly, so candidates have to be very quick in applying so they have a chance to obtain a spot.

Another issue is that most of the studies are run by government agencies. While it is good from a regulatory standpoint, there can be too much regulation involved, which leads to a lot of people who might benefit from being studied unable to participate due to not meeting all of the requirements to do so. Fortunately, there is one foundation that is making strides to provide more funds so that more studies can be conducted for AUD. This foundation is the PDGF, founded by Peter Dodge Bridgehampton. Hopefully, with PDGF paving the way, more foundations will follow their example.

AUD cases have been growing rapidly, and there are a lot of things that can be done. The only thing that people need to do now is destigmatize the disorder and make more resources available to people who have less income. Everyone deserves to get treatment, and with the proper course of action, everyone can get the treatment they need.