Alcohol use disorder clinical course research: informing clinicians' treatment planning now and in the future

Stephen A Maisto, Megan Kirouac, Katie Witkiewitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The clinical course of alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been widely researched over the past half-century and has been used to advance our understanding of the treatment of AUD. Nevertheless, new directions in AUD clinical course research could enhance its value in informing clinical decision-making in patient-centered treatment of AUD.

METHOD: An overview, a critical analysis, and a discussion of AUD clinical course research are presented.

RESULTS: This article discusses three research directions that promote the advancement of the knowledge regarding the clinical course of AUD to better inform clinical decision-making in patient-centered treatment of AUD. Specifically, we hypothesized that (a) real-time data collection of the clinical course of AUD via ecological momentary assessment would help elucidate near real-time associations between risk factors and alcohol use, (b) future research designs should use person-centered and dynamic analyses of alcohol use over time, and (c) adaptive treatment designs would provide personalized and optimized AUD treatment. Consequently, the field will advance the development of clinical decision-making support systems to better inform clinicians and clients in making informed AUD treatment decisions. In addition, such research would advance clinical practice with more attention to theory and expansion of the study of the clinical course of AUD to include areas of life functioning besides alcohol use.

CONCLUSIONS: These research directions have the potential to build a scientific knowledge base that could improve our understanding of AUD among individuals with alcohol problems, would allow providers to predict patient outcomes during and after treatment, and would offer practical strategies regarding steps that could ultimately improve the clinical course of AUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-807
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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