Review decision date: April 2015

Review decision: 

We checked this guideline and decided that it should not be updated at this time. For details, see the update decision and the process for deciding if an update is needed.

Next review date: 2019

This clinical guideline offers evidence-based advice on the diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in adults and in young people aged 10–17 years.

This is one of three pieces of NICE guidance addressing alcohol-related problems and should be read along with:

  • Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking. NICE guideline PH24 (2010) - public health guidance on the price, advertising and availability of alcohol, how best to detect alcohol misuse in and outside primary care, and brief interventions to manage it in these settings.
  • Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and clinical management of alcohol-related physical complications. NICE guideline CG100 (2010) - clinical guideline covering acute unplanned alcohol withdrawal including delirium tremens, alcohol-related liver damage, alcohol-related pancreatitis and management of Wernicke’s encephalopathy.

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 are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users 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 compliance with those duties.

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