What, Exactly, is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Grace Halsey

Approximately 60% of respondents to a national survey report pandemic-related increased alcohol consumption. Could any of your patients be at risk for alcohol use disorder?

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and also the first full month into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism urges primary care clinicians to be particularly alert for signs of increased alcohol use or deterioration in known problem drinking or alcohol use disorder (AUD) among their patients--and not just this month. The protracted stress of the pandemic and increased availability of alcohol are both factors contributing to increased drinking. In one recent survey, 60% of participants reported consuming more alcohol and consuming alcohol more frequently than pre-pandemic, attributing the behavior change, in part, to both conditions.

What, exactly, is AUD? In this slide show, find the 11 questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V that serve as criteria for a diagnosis--and think about your patients as you read through.