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Recovery is Possible

Alcohol Use Disorder

While excessive alcohol use is harmful on its own, it may also lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the symptoms. Severe AUD is sometimes referred to as alcoholism or alcohol dependence. The risk of developing AUD depends on how much, how often, and how quickly someone drinks alcohol. Binge drinking and heavy drinking increases the risk of developing AUD.

Other factors that increase the risk of developing AUD include:

  • Drinking at an early age
  • Genetics and family history of alcohol problems
  • History of trauma
  • Having mental health conditions

AUD can cause:

  • Alcohol cravings
  • Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've started
  • A negative emotional state - feeling anxious and irritable when you are not drinking

Need Help?

Man deep in thoughtFor more information on signs of AUD and resources for getting help, visit the Gettin​g Help page.​

No matter how severe the problem may seem, medications and behavioral therapies exist for those with AUD. If you think you might have an AUD, contact your trusted health care provider to help identify the most appropriate treatment for you.   

For questions, please contact us at alcohol@cdph.ca.​gov.​​

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