Recognizing the signs of alcoholism

Many people love to celebrate during the holidays during family gatherings, office parties, and other celebrations, but some people will drink beyond their limits. Adverse consequences can range from family fights or relationship problems, to embarrassing situations with co-workers or accidents resulting in hospitalization. And for people who spend a lot of time drinking—including finding themselves craving alcohol or drinking more to get the same effect—this may be a sign of an ongoing alcohol use disorder (AUD).

If you or a loved one has had any issues or struggles with alcohol over the holidays, the start of a new year can be a good time to start off on a healthier note. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has a new online resource that can help to navigate the often-complicated process of choosing treatment for alcohol problems. The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator ( offers a comprehensive strategy to help people search for professionally-led, evidence-based alcohol treatment, which should improve their chances for success.

About Dr. George Koob
Dr. George F. Koob, Director of NIAAA at the National Institutes of Health, is an internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction. Dr. Koob began his career investigating the neurobiology of emotion, particularly how the brain processes reward and stress. He subsequently applied basic research on emotions, including on the anatomical and neurochemical underpinnings of emotional function, to alcohol and drug addiction, significantly broadening knowledge of the adaptations within reward and stress neurocircuits that lead to addiction. This work has advanced our understanding of the physiological effects of alcohol and other substance use and why some people transition from use to misuse to addiction, while others do not. Dr. Koob oversees a wide range of alcohol-related research, including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. He is the author of more than 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the co-author of The Neurobiology of Addiction, a comprehensive review of the most critical neurobiology of addiction research conducted over the past 50 years

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