Standard Article

Alcohol Use Disorders

  1. Kenneth J. Sher

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0033

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Sher, K. J. 2010. Alcohol Use Disorders. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Missouri

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000), alcohol use disorders (AUDs) can be subdivided into two major diagnoses: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Alcohol abuse refers to a pathological pattern of drinking marked by one or more of four domains of problems—specifically recurrent using of alcohol in physically hazardous situations, legal problems, problems in fulfilling role obligations, and interpersonal problems. Alcohol dependence refers to a presumed more severe condition marked by three or more of seven criteria—tolerance, withdrawal, impaired control of drinking, inability to cut down or abstain, a great deal of time spent drinking or recovering from alcohol's effects, important activities given up because of drinking, and drinking despite knowledge that it is having adverse effects on one's mental and/or physical health.


  • alcohol abuse;
  • alcohol dependence;
  • etiology;
  • treatment