Alcohol Use Disorder: Myths and Facts

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition in which a person is dependent on a drug—alcohol. AUD also includes a level of abuse called alcoholism. The disease can harm a person’s physical and mental health. It can also affect their behavior. AUD isn't a character flaw. It's not a moral failure. Untreated, it's a disease that gets worse over time. Untreated, it can also lead to brain damage and death. Recovery is possible if drinking is stopped.

Most of us believe things about AUD that aren’t really true. This keeps us from thinking clearly. It keeps us from seeing AUD in our families and friends, or at our jobs. It's important to cut through the AUD myths and learn the facts. Then we can see AUD—and do something about it.

Myth: But she’s not always drunk.

Fact: Most people with AUD aren't always drunk. But it’s what happens when they do drink that matters.

Myth: But he has such a nice family.

Fact: A person with AUD can have a nice family. And most people with AUD can take care of their families for a long time.

Myth: But she doesn’t look like a person with AUD.

Fact: People with AUD don't look a certain way. And many people with AUD take great care with how they look. They don't want other people to think they're alcoholics.

Myth: But he only drinks beer.

Fact: Alcohol is alcohol. A can of beer equals a shot of whiskey. Or a glass of wine.

Myth: He makes it to work every day. So he can't be an alcoholic.

Fact: Many people with AUD rarely miss work. They may be hung over. But they still show up.

Myth: But he comes from such a good background.

Fact: AUD can happen to anyone. Family background, social position, and income don't matter.

Myth: But he has a good job.

Fact: Most people with AUD have jobs. And most are responsible people. Many are professionals and executives.

Myth: She’s too nice to have AUD

Fact: Many people with AUD are good people. There's no such thing as an AUD personality. But a person’s behavior can change after drinking.

Myth: But I never see her drink.

Fact: People with AUD often keep their drinking habits secret. They often hide this from people at work.

Myth: People with AUD are all bums.

Fact: Most people with AUD are ordinary, decent people.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Sabrina Felson MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2023
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