Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

At Pacific Solstice, Orange County’s Premier Alcohol Outpatient Rehab, we know that many people who suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Alcohol Addiction, or Alcoholism, are intelligent, kind, and fun people. Some of us are you! Alcohol Addiction does not mean that you are the vision of a person whose life has completely fallen apart and you have lost everything. Alcoholism does, however, keep you from living your life to the fullest and freest potential. As you read, please be aware of our sincere respect for you as a person, not just the Alcohol Use Disorder you or your loved one is experiencing. Lastly, please note that as well educated and trained mental health and substance abuse clinicians, we borrow our information and research from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-V), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) to define the different types and descriptions of Alcohol Use Disorder.



Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) describes different types of drinking, including Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking. Binge Drinking is when an adult female consumes 4 or more alcoholic beverages and an adult male consumes 5 or more alcoholic beverages during one occasion on at least one day in the past month (30 days). In contrast, Heavy Drinking is when someone drinks 5 or more alcoholic beverages on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days. (Please note in contrast to Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking, Moderate Drinking is drinking up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.)


According to the DSM-V, there are 11 symptoms of Alcohol Addiction and in order for a person to be diagnosed with AUD, he or she must have two of the following symptoms in the past 12 months.

  • Larger amounts of drinking happen over a longer period of time than the individual originally intended. (“I can’t believe I went through all those bottles.”)
  • Although there is a desire to control the drinking, efforts usually prove to be unsuccessful and do not last. (“Crap, I didn’t mean to drink all that much.”)
  • More and more of a drinker’s waking hours are either used to get drunk or recover from a hangover. (“It’s five o’clock somewhere.”)
  • A person experiences an intense need to use. (“Damn, I need a drink.”)
  • Drinking interferes in a person’s ability to function at home and in work. (“I will be in a little late to work today.”)
  • Someone continues to drink even though their drinking has caused personal problems, such as marital problems, conflicts with children or parents, and peer problems. (Your wife says, “It is either me or the alcohol!”)
  • Activities in the workplace, at home or with friends are missed as a result of drinking. (“I was hungover and couldn’t make it.”)
  • Drinking causes an individual to be in harm’s way. (“How did I make it home last night?”)
  • A person continues to drink even though they have physical or psychological issues with drinking. (Your doctor says, “If you don’t stop drinking…”)
  • A person needs more and more alcohol to get drunk or a person appears less drunk when consuming the same amount of alcohol that previously caused them to be intoxicated. (“Wow, I have had three glasses of wine and I feel fine.”)
  • A person gets agitated, uncomfortable in their own skin, irritable, sweats or shakes when stopping drinking and, as a result, a person starts to drink again to stop these negative effects from ceasing to drink. (“I don’t feel good, I could use a drink.”)



In addition, to problems associated with intoxication and withdrawal, high doses of alcohol can increase a person’s risk of developing serious medical conditions. Alcohol affects nearly every organ in the human body. Some examples of the health problems associated with alcohol use are cirrhosis of the liver, numerous cancers, hypertension, heart problems, neurological issues, deficits of intelligence, memory loss, problems with movement (due to problems with the part of the brain that controls movement) and severe vitamin deficiencies. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that there are 88,000 deaths per year in the United States due to excessive alcohol use. Alcohol greatly increases the risk of depression and other mental health disorders, including suicide. Today after the advances in neurological research, we understand the feel good chemicals are released in the brain as one drinks alcohol. This creates a natural impulse to drink more and more in an effort to keep getting buzzed/drunk/high. However, what most people do not realize, is that those chemicals in the brain do not continue to be released after a certain point and, as a result, a person only becomes further intoxicated and frustrated because the high cycle does not continue. A 3,000-year-old proverb says, “First the man takes the drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.”

We are ready to help you. Contact our Orange County Alcohol Outpatient Rehab today!