Once viewed as a moral failing or character flaw, AUD is now widely regarded as a chronic but treatable brain disease that develops through complex, dynamic interactions among biological, environmental, and developmental factors.This shift in perspective, bolstered by decades of research on the neurobiology of addiction, has helped reduce the stigma associated with AUD and has underscored the need for a multipronged approach to preventing and treating alcohol-related problems, with interventions designed for individuals, families, communities, and society at large.This perspective guides the identification of life-stage–appropriate strategies for preventing, treating, and facilitating recovery from alcohol problems, as well as tailoring resources to the needs of individuals of all ages.
Nearly 90 percent of adults in the United States report that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime, and more than half report drinking in the last month.
Alcohol misuse also contributes to poor performance at school and work; family problems; unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases; violence; memory blackouts; unintentional injuries, accidents, and overdoses; and organ damage and disease.
Although rates of alcohol use and AUD among men who have sex with men (MSM) are comparable to rates in the general population, alcohol misuse among MSM is an important public health problem.
Alcohol misuse is a known risk factor for HIV, and MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections each year in the United States.
NIAAA will continue to support research on the factors that contribute to individual variation in alcohol misuse, AUD, and alcohol-related outcomes.
The Institute will use that information to guide the development and validation of prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers and personalized interventions for these conditions.
NIAAA supports efforts to enhance the rigor and reproducibility of research, including ensuring that sex is incorporated as a biological variable into the design, analysis, and scientific reporting of the studies it funds.
This is a critical step toward ensuring that everyone, regardless of sex or gender, benefits from alcohol research advances.
These efforts will be aided by the recent expansion of electronic medical records and the development of mobile health technologies, which have the potential to improve the quality and collection of patient data and to provide comprehensive, personalized health care services where and when patients need them.
Cultivating a talented and diverse research workforce is essential to advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge and to translating research findings into practice.