Research & Resources

Defining Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder

In this article, researchers sought to provide an operational definition of recovery from alcohol use disorder (AUD) to facilitate the consistency of research on recovery and stimulate further research. They present a newly developed National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) definition of recovery from DSM-5 AUD based on qualitative feedback from key recovery stakeholders (e.g., researchers, clinicians, and recovery specialists). The new definition views recovery as both a process and an outcome of behavioral change and incorporates two key components of recovery; namely, remission from DSM-5 AUD and cessation from heavy drinking. This definition of recovery also emphasizes the importance of biopsychosocial functioning and quality of life in enhancing recovery outcomes. The new NIAAA definition of recovery is an operational definition that can be used by diverse stakeholders to increase consistency in recovery measurement, stimulate research to better understand recovery, and facilitate the process of recovery.

This paper, “Defining recovery from alcohol use disorder: Development of an NIAAA research definition,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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