APA Says No to DUI as Symptom of Alcohol Abuse or Dependence.

DUIs to Be Excluded as Reason for Diagnosing an Alcohol Use Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association has decided to exclude a DUI or underage drinking from  the DSM-V, the official APA guide used  for diagnosing alcohol problems. 

For many clients, a DUI is the reason that they enter (court-ordered) counseling. However, legal trouble has not been found to be significantly related to either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence (Shmulewitz, Keyes, Beseler, Aharonovich, Aivadyan, Spivak, & Hasin, 2010).

Removing the legal trouble criterion will not affect diagnosing severe cases of Alcohol Use Disorders,  but it will reduce severity in some cases.

Removing the legal criterion may altogether eliminate some diagnosis (and stigma) of  an alcohol use disorder for individuals mandated to counseling due to a single alcohol-related incident (e.g., a DUI, a case of underage drinking or public drunkenness).