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Alcohol Use Disorder: Biological Factors

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), for individuals who broadly display patterns of alcohol consumption that causes significant distress and impairment. The relatively recent DSM-5 AUD diagnosis contains the two previously discrete diagnoses from the DSM-IV, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.

Research provides strong evidence for an inherited tendency toward developing alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, which constitute AUD. In other words, AUDs are often biologically inherited and tend to run in families. Recent research suggests that inherited biological and genetic factors contribute approximately 50% to 60% of the risk for developing an AUD. Individuals who have a parent with AUDs have up to a tenfold increased probability of developing ...

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