AUD is a spectrum of alcohol-related issues that include alcohol misuse, abuse, and dependency. It is not solely characterized by the amount of alcohol that is consumed, but rather the effects drinking habits have on social, physical, and mental health.
AUD can have lasting effects on individuals, families, and society. Uncontrolled, AUD can also lead to legal troubles and serious health complications.
The specific cause of AUD is unknown. It often develops because of a complex combination of factors such as:
Alcohol use disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115540/Alcohol-use-disorder. Updated October 23, 2015. Accessed October 5, 2016.
Alcohol use disorder. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: http://niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders. Accessed April 9, 2015.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. HelpGuide website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/alcoholism-and-alcohol-abuse.htm. Updated February 2015. Accessed April 9, 2015.
American Psychiatric Association. Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
Binge drinking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BingeDrinking/index.html. Updated October 10, 2013. Accessed April 9, 2015.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Peter J. Lucas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.