Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is, in general, any dependence on or abuse of drinking alcohol. AUD results in many mental and/or physical health problems. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.4 million adults ages 18+ and 401,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.

How much alcohol is too much?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines a standard drink as one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Men may be at risk of AUD if they exceed 14 standard alcoholic drinks per week, and women if they drink more than seven.


In the United States, AUD affects approximately 7% of adults and 3% of people aged between 12 and 17 years, and it is more common in males than in females.

The Good News

Recovery is possible. About 33% of people treated for AUD suffer no additional symptoms, and thousands have reduced their drinking consumption to fit within healthy limits, even if they relapse a few times before they get to that place.