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 (high-risk drinking) and alcohol dependence.

In April 2017, we reviewed the evidence for corticosteroid treatment for people with severe alcohol-related hepatitis and changed recommendation

 MHRA advice on antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy: In January 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) updated safety advice on antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy. We are reviewing the recommendations on carbamazepine in this guideline, and will amend them as needed. In the meantime, take account of MHRA advice when discussing treatment with women and girls of childbearing potential.


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?

We checked this guideline in January 2019 and we are updating it.

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.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)