About Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) combines alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.


Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Is an Illness – The Role of the General Practitioner

Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic problem and treatment must likewise be long-term.


People with AUD who stop drinking are subject to intense cravings, impulsive desire to drink and withdrawal effects including dysphoria and depression.


Primary care physicians have a key role to play. In 2013 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that primary care physicians screen for AUD (Moyer et al., 2013). People who suffer from AUD have to identified and diagnosed, and treatment has to be administered, adjusted and maintained on a chronic basis by their primary care physicians as part of a comprehensive behavioral intervention.


Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined as the presence of at least two of these symptoms or behaviors

  • Consume Increasing Amounts of Alcohol
  • Efforts Made to Cut Down on Use
  • Time Spent on Alcohol (on acquiring, using, recovering)
  • Craving
  • Negative Effects on Work/School/Home Obligations
  • Negative Effects on Relationships
  • Giving Up Activities to Drink
  • Drinking in Hazardous Situations
  • Use in Spite of Consequences
  • Tolerance Present
  • Withdrawal Present

16-million to 18-million Americans with Alcohol Use Disorder – only 1.3-million receive treatment


Alcohol Use Disorder affects 76 million adults worldwide including 18 million Americans, and 2.5 million individuals (75,000 Americans) die each year from alcohol-related events. The US healthcare costs associated with AUD are approximately $30 billion annually, and the total economic cost to society is $235 billion each year (Rehm et al., 2009). Despite these figures, in 2013 only 1.3 million people in the US received treatment.

AUD ranks among the leading causes of a reduction in disability-adjusted life-years and third in preventable causes of death in the US.


About Nicotine Addiction

The CDC estimates that nearly $170 billion each year in medical costs is the result of smoking-related illness. Over 20% of the US population smoke. An estimated 55.8 million Americans were current cigarette smokers in the latest federal data.¹ Smoking tobacco results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year.


Small success – Large need


Over half (52%) of adult smokers attempt to quit every year. However, of only these 6% successfully quit smoking.²

¹Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, 2013
²MMWR, 2011