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What makes treatment difficult for alcohol use disorder?

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Your craving for alcohol makes abstinence -- an important goal of treatment -- extremely difficult. The condition is also complicated by denial. You might not want to admit you drink too much because of denial or guilt. Another barrier to getting care is that doctors screen only about 15% of their primary care patients for alcohol disorders.

Historically, alcohol abuse was blamed on a character flaw or weakness of will. Experts now consider chronic alcoholism a disease that can affect anyone.

SOURCES: 

American Psychiatric Association:  5th edition, 2013.  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Alcohol Abuse , Psychiatric Annuls 2005. 

Combs, R. , Wiley, 2004.  Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Littleton, J. . 2003. American Journal of Addiction

UpToDate.

The Alcoholism Guide (http://www.the-alcoholism-guide.org/cage-questionnaire.html).

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Vol. 35, 2016.

 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 2, 2019

SOURCES: 

American Psychiatric Association:  5th edition, 2013.  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Alcohol Abuse , Psychiatric Annuls 2005. 

Combs, R. , Wiley, 2004.  Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Littleton, J. . 2003. American Journal of Addiction

UpToDate.

The Alcoholism Guide (http://www.the-alcoholism-guide.org/cage-questionnaire.html).

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Vol. 35, 2016.

 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 2, 2019

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How does alcohol use disorder affect younger and older people differently?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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