ReviewDISEASES AND DISORDERS

Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder

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Science Advances  25 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax4043
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax4043

Abstract

Alcohol is a major contributor to global disease and a leading cause of preventable death, causing approximately 88,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Alcohol use disorder is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, with nearly one-third of U.S. adults experiencing alcohol use disorder at some point during their lives. Alcohol use disorder also has economic consequences, costing the United States at least $249 billion annually. Current pharmaceutical and behavioral treatments may assist patients in reducing alcohol use or facilitating alcohol abstinence. Although recent research has expanded understanding of alcohol use disorder, more research is needed to identify the neurobiological, genetic and epigenetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors most critical in the etiology and treatment of this disease. Implementation of this knowledge in clinical practice and training of health care providers is also needed to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment of individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder.

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