, Volume 235, Issue 6, pp 1759–1773 | Cite as

New steps for treating alcohol use disorder

  • Erin J. Campbell
  • Andrew J. Lawrence
  • Christina J. Perry


Alcohol use disorder is a complex syndrome with multiple treatment points including drug-induced pathology, withdrawal management, behavioral/cognitive strategies, and relapse prevention. These different components may be complicated by genotype and phenotype. A huge milestone for the treatment of alcohol use disorder across several countries in the last 10 years was the introduction of practice guidelines integrating clinical expertise and research evidence. These provide a summary of interventions that have been shown to be effective following rigorous and replicated clinical trials. Inspection of these guidelines reveals good consistency, but little evidence of progress in treatment approaches for alcohol use disorder over the past decade. In this mini-review, we discuss emerging treatments for alcohol use disorder that may supplement or improve the evidence-based treatments that are currently recommended. New medications, the emergence of digital technology, and other novel approaches such as transcranial magnetic stimulation are all discussed with reference to treatments already in practice. We also consider how individual differences in genotype and phenotype may affect outcomes. Together with improvements in technology, this knowledge offers a powerful tool for designing personalized approaches to treatment, and hence improving prognosis for rehabilitation programs.


Alcohol use disorder Therapy Drug repositioning Precision medicine Transcranial magnetic stimulation 



This work was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant (AJL, 1105741), a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (AJL, 1116930), a National Health and Medical Research Council/Australian Research Council Fellowship (CJP, 1107144), and the Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Scheme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin J. Campbell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Lawrence
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christina J. Perry
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne Brain CentreParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental HealthThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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