Like other addictions, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. AUD is generally characterized by compulsive drinking, an inability to control intake despite negative social or economic consequences, and a negative emotional and physical state when not consuming alcohol. People diagnosed with AUD can still be functional, with their level of functionality dependent upon the severity of their disorder. Hence, we believe that a reduction in drinking can have a meaningful impact, especially since most drinkers do not want to stop drinking entirely (abstinence).
Although not necessarily classified as AUD unless other criteria are met, binge drinking is the most common, costly and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States according to the CDC. For men and women, this translates to about 5 or more drinks and 4 or more drinks in a single session, respectively. Over 90% of American adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
About 17 million people in the United States suffer from some form of AUD. The economic costs of AUD are staggering: roughly $250 billion annually are spent on alcohol-related healthcare, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs (binge drinking accounts for 77% or $191 billion). AUD is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. More Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year (estimated at 88,000) than all other drug poisoning fatalities combined. Healthwise, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic liver disease (liver damage). Liver damage usually manifests in the following order: accumulation of fat, inflammation, and cirrhosis, which is irreversible, may require a transplant and can be fatal.