April is alcohol awareness month. Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.
An estimated 15 million people in the United States have AUD. Approximately 5.8 percent or 14.4 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2018. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2018, an estimated 401,000 adolescents have AUD.