This guideline covers care for adults and young people (aged 10 years and older) with physical health problems that are completely or partly caused by an alcohol-use disorder. It aims to improve the health of people with alcohol-use disorders by providing recommendations on managing acute alcohol withdrawal and treating alcohol-related conditions.

NICE has also produced guidelines on alcohol-use disorders: prevention and alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence.

In April 2017, we updated the recommendation on corticosteroid treatment for alcohol-related hepatitis.

 MHRA advice on antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy: In May 2021, we linked to the updated MHRA safety advice on antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy in the recommendation on treatment for acute alcohol withdrawal.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals

  • Commissioners and providers

  • People with alcohol-use disorders, their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

January 2019: We checked this guideline, see the surveillance decision for more information. 

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.