Updated by NatanSchleider, M.D. on February 22nd, 2021
NYC Psychiatriry and Primary Care Physicians specialize in treatment of Alcohol Abuse Disorder (formerly called Alcoholism) in Manhattan NYC.
Our American Board of Addiction Medicine [American Board of Addiction Medicine -American Board of Addiction Medicine (abam.net) NYC Board Certified Physicians evaluate, diagnose, and treat alcohol abuse disorder in NYC using every resource available:
Evaluation and Diagnosis of Alcohol Abuse Disorder:
Many people enjoy alcohol, some of us just drink more than we should.
Whether you have genetic risks factors for alcoholism, are binge drinking, or just worried because someone told you they are worried about your alcohol consumption, we are here to help.
So am I an alcoholic or not?
Sounds like a simple question but there is no simple answer.
Alcohol use disorder is actually a combination of alcohol-related medical conditions characterized by alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It is more commonly referred to as alcoholism. Experts estimate that approximately 18 million Americans suffer from this condition. The intake of alcohol is common in the United States. Many people enjoy a glass of wine for dinner or have a beer at the ballpark. This is not an indication of alcohol abuse. Rather, alcohol use disorder is likely present when the patient’s drinking causes harm or distress.
According to the DSM-5, the symptoms of alcohol use disorder include a combination of craving, physical dependence, an increasing tolerance for alcohol and loss of control.
Considered individually; craving refers to the driving need for alcohol intake; and many who suffer alcohol use disorder will have withdrawal symptoms without it.
The individual who is alcoholic may be anxious, exhibit tremors or shaking, sweat effusively and be nauseous when they do not have alcohol–this is alcohol withdrawal aka delirum tremens. Sometimes the more the person with alcohol use disorder drinks; the greater amounts of alcohol they need in order to have the same effect (Farren, Hill, & Weiss, 2012).
Some alcohol abusers lack self-control, unable to curb or restrain their drinking.
Others are ‘periodic’ or binge drinkers.’ They are able to go weeks or months without alcohol without issue but when they drink, they often over do it.
Some alcoholics individuals spend as much time as possible in the act of drinking BUT many of our NYC patient that have alcohol use disorders are NOT this cliched type.
Most of our NYC patients with alcohol issues carry full time jobs, excel at work, seem smarter and more intelligent than non-alcoholics. Some run marathons. Some practice medicine. When alcohol use negatively affects work or life does not clarify a diagnosis of alcoholism but is a warning sign.
Alcohol use disorder is linked to high rates of medical and psychiatric comorbidity; and early mortality (Kendler, & Myers, 2012).
It is a chronic condition that is treatable but not treatable.
So how do you officially diagnose alcohol abuse disorder?
After getting a history of of alcohol use, we ask about family history, perform certain screening tests like the AUDIT Alcohol Screening Form
Lab testing like liver tests and Urine ETG can be collected.
Ultrasounds of the liver to assess liver damage can be done.
So how do you treat alcoholism?
Another complicated question.
We use a combination of tools including medicines like naltrexone, naltrexone tablets, naltrexone injection (Vivitrol), Campral, disulfiram (Antabuse), gabapentin (Neurontin) and others.
We also advise talk therapy, and advise fellowship groups the patient wants nonmedical treatment to compliment the medications.