Investigators Develop Tool to Identify Individuals Overlooked for Alcohol Use Disorder

The framework focuses on 13 risk factors, including impulsive behavior and punishment and reward sensitivity.

Investigators at the University of Missouri have (MU) developed a framework that they think may help identify individuals previously overlooked for alcohol use disorder (AUD).1

The framework focuses on 13 risk factors, such as impulsive behavior and punishment and reward that could lead to an individual developing an AUD.1

“We know from decades of research that there are a lot of different pathways to alcohol use disorder," Cassie Boness, a former graduate student at MU in the department of psychological sciences, said in a statement.1 "So, we want to make sure that we are targeting people's specific pathways as accurately as possible in order to be most effective in identifying and treating AUD."

Although assessment tools, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, can help health care professionals diagnose an individual with AUD, Boness said these methods are too narrowly focused on the consequences of an individual’s actions.1

Incorporating a broad list of potential risk factors that may lead to an AUD diagnosis may be beneficial, she said.1

Boness, who is now a research assistant professor at the University of New Mexico,hopes that the framework can be a step forward toward a comprehensive diagnosis of AUD throughout the health care community.1

However, the tool is not meant to be the only solution but rather a way for other investigators to build upon and enhance the existing research on the subject, she said.1

"Eventually, we'd like to see assessment tools that more comprehensively capture the factors articulated in our framework so that we can identify individual profiles of risk and potentially intervene during earlier stages of addiction," Boness said.1

The framework was published in Psychological Bulletin.1

About 25.1% of adults over aged 18 years in the United States had at least 1 heavy drinking day in the past year, which is 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women, according to the CDC.2

There were about 29,505 alcoholic liver disease deaths in the United States over the past year, accounting for 9 deaths per 100,000 individuals in the population.2

Additionally, the number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides was 49,061, making deaths, excluding accidents and homicides accounting for 14.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals in the population.2

Reference

1. Redefining alcohol use disorder. Science Daily. News release. January 24, 2022. Accessed February 1, 2022. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220124194955.htm

2. Alcohol Use. CDC. Updated January 13, 2022. Accessed February 1, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm

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