WHAT WE TREAT Alcohol Use Disorder

Prolonged, excess alcohol use can damage
self-esteem, degrade relationships, impair work
and school performance, and cause severe health problems.

Call: 1 (831) 372-4366


Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is the clinical diagnosis addiction professionals use to describe the medical condition known for decades as alcoholism or alcohol dependence. There are three levels of AUD: mild, moderate, and severe.

To determine whether you meet diagnostic criteria for mild, moderate, or severe AUD, consider the following questions about your alcohol use over the past year:

  1. Were there times when you drank more, or for a longer period, than you planned?
  2. Did you try – unsuccessfully – to cut down or quit drinking?
  3. Did you spend time managing the effects of drinking, such as hangovers or feeling sick?
  4. Have you experienced strong cravings for alcohol?
  5. Has drinking had a negative impact on your home, work, or education?
  6. If you answered yes to question (5), did you keep drinking anyway?
  7. Have you stopped activities you used to love, in order to drink – or manage hangovers – instead?
  8. Have you engaged in risky behavior, such as driving under the influence?
  9. Have you kept drinking even though it causes physical, psychological, and emotional discomfort?
  10. Have you had to drink more to get the same effect?
  11. Have you had a drink to avoid symptoms such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, anxiety, irritability, or depression?

If you answer yes to 2-3 of these questions, you meet the criteria for mild AUD. If you answer yes to 4-5, you meet the criteria for moderate AUD. If you answer yes to 6 or more, you meet the criteria for severe AUD.

We offer this to help you determine where you fall on the continuum, understand how addiction professionals arrive at a diagnosis for AUD, and help you decide if you need to seek treatment for your alcohol use. This questionnaire is not a formal assessment, and does not take the place of an evaluation for AUD administered by a medical professional.



In our culture, alcohol is difficult to avoid. It’s the beverage of choice at parties and events across the entire spectrum of society. From informal dinners to after-work happy hours to high-class galas, drinking alcohol is the norm. Teens experiment with alcohol, college students glorify their infamous over-indulgence, and millions of adults drink beer, wine, or liquor as part of their daily after-work routine. Most of us know this to be true simply through our lived experience. We grow up seeing people around us drink. We see a constant stream of beer commercials on television. We have more than anecdotal evidence, though: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that in the year 2018, close to 140 million people in the U.S. consumed alcohol regularly. That’s close to half the population.


The NSDUH reports another fact about alcohol consumption in the United States: of the 140 million people who drink regularly, almost 15 million meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. Of those 15 million, less than 10 percent receive treatment for their disorder. Mental health and addiction professionals call this the treatment gap.

We’ll say this in three ways – two with numbers and one in plain language – so there’s no confusion about the point we want to make:

  1. The treatment gap for alcohol use disorder in the U.S. is over 90 percent.
  2. Over 13 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with AUD do not receive treatment for AUD.
  3. The vast majority of people with a drinking problem in the U.S. don’t get the help they need.

At Beacon House, our goal is to close the treatment gap. We know we can’t wave a magic wand and help millions of people overnight. What we can do, though, is help one person at a time, one day at a time. Little by little, we’ll close that gap – starting with you.


Research shows the most effective way to treat problem drinking is with an integrated, individualized plan that includes lifestyle changes, therapy, counseling, community support programs, and in some cases, medication. All aspects of the disordered alcohol use must be addressed: the biological, the psychological, and the social.

At Beacon House, we embrace the concept of treating the entire person. That’s what we mean when we say our approach is holistic. We welcome you to our treatment community with kindness and compassion. We conduct a comprehensive medical and psychiatric evaluation. We get to know who you are, learn about your goals for treatment, and pay close attention to what resonates with you. Then work with you to create a treatment plan that addresses your immediate needs and gives you the tools you need to begin your recovery journey with the best chance of sustainable, lifelong success.