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Alcoholism (cont.)

Prognosis of Alcoholism

  • Remaining alcohol-free is a very difficult task for most people with alcohol use disorder. Individuals who do not seek help after detoxification may have a high relapse rate.
    • Four key factors may influence relapse rate:
      • Less education about addiction and ways to resist urges to relapse
      • Higher levels of frustration and anger
      • More extensive history of cravings and other withdrawal symptoms
      • More frequent consumption of alcohol prior to treatment
    • If a person continues to drink excessively after numerous or ongoing treatments, their prognosis is very poor. Persistent heavy drinkers will often succumb to the effects of alcohol.
    • Alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease not unlike diabetes or congestive heart failure. If alcoholism is considered a chronic disease, a treatment success rate of 50% is similar to the success rates in other chronic illnesses.

For More Information

Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization
Postal Address: ACA WSO
PO Box 3216
Torrance, CA 90510
Phone: 562-595-7831

888-4AL-ANON (888-425-2666)

Alcoholics Anonymous
A.A. World Services, Inc., 11th Floor
475 Riverside Drive at West 120th St.
New York, NY 10115
Phone: 212-870-3400

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

MedlinePlus, Alcoholism


"Alcohol and Crime." National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. <>.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, fifth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Burns, Michael James. "Delirium Tremens (DTs)." June 29, 2011. <>.

Goldstein, P., H. Brownstein, and P. Ryan. "Drug Related Homicide in New York: 1984 and 1988." Crime Delinquency 38 (1992): 459- 476.

McKay, J.R. "Studies of Factors in Relapse to Alcohol, Drug and Nicotine Use: A Critical Review of Methodologies and Findings." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60.4 July 1999: 566-576.

Moos, Rudolf H., and Bernice S. Moos. "Rates and Predictors of Relapse After Natural and Treated Remission From Alcohol Use Disorders." Addiction 101.2 Feb. 2006: 212-222. <>.

Spunt, B., H. Brownstein, P. Goldstein, M. Fendrich, M., and J. Liberty. "Drug Use by Homicide Offenders." Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 27.2 (1995): 125-134.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Facts Sheets - Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men's Health." Jan. 16, 2014. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Motor Vehicle Safety." Oct. 4, 2011. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Unintentional Drowning: Fact Sheet." May 16, 2011. <>.

United States. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Alcohol Facts and Statistics." May 21, 2014. <>.

United States. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "FAQs for the General Public." Feb. 2012. <>.

United States. U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA. "Focus on Fire Safety: Alcohol and Fire." Mar. 20, 2009. <>.

United States. U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Acamprosate." Feb. 11, 2012. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

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