At a Glance
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It is a spectrum disorder and can be mild, moderate, or severe and encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, or the colloquial term alcoholism. AUD can cause lasting changes in the brain that make patients vulnerable to relapse. The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from treatment with behavioral therapies, medications, or both.