What is alcohol use disorder (AUD)?
For most adults, moderate alcohol use is probably not harmful. However, about 18 million adult Americans have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This means that their drinking causes distress and harm. AUD can range from mild to severe, depending on the symptoms. Severe AUD is sometimes called alcoholism or alcohol dependence.
AUD is a disease that causes:
Craving - a strong need to drink
Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've started
Negative emotional state - feeling anxious and irritable when you are not drinking
What are the dangers of too much alcohol?
Too much alcohol is dangerous. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers. It may lead to liver diseases, such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. It can also cause damage to the brain and other organs. Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Alcohol also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide.
Source: MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine; NIH: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
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