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Symposium: Alcohol and Addiction Psychiatry – Where Are We Now?

This symposium will present NIAAA’s broad perspective on the intersection of Addiction Psychiatry and alcohol use, misuse, and alcohol use disorder (AUD). The first presentation will describe the public health burden of AUD, highlighting the enormous treatment gap between those individuals who could benefit from treatment for AUD and those who receive treatment. It will focus on the ramifications of the treatment gap, underlying drivers of AUD, and outline positive developments in attempts to reduce the public health burden of AUD. The second presentation will focus on NIAAA’s definition of recovery from AUD, developed with input from researchers and clinicians, and consider practical ways this definition may be useful for healthcare professionals. The definition views recovery as a process and identifies two key alcohol-related outcomes: 1) cessation from heavy drinking; and 2) remission from DSM-5 AUD. The third presentation addresses the topic of heterogeneity within individuals with AUD and assessments of individual neurobiology with the goal of improving patient outcomes and will present data collected as part of NIAAA’s Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment (ANA) initiative, which focuses on three neuroscience-based functional domains relevant for addiction. Finally, the last presentation provides information on the Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol, an NIAAA-developed website with foundational knowledge on various topics related to AUD and patient care and additional resources for practicing clinicians.

Learning Objectives
  • Identify major causes of the alcohol treatment gap and health outcomes related to alcohol misuse.
  • Define the new NIAAA recovery definition and describe clinical implications of this definition.
  • Describe the three neurofunctional domains included in the Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment and their corresponding brain circuits.
Keywords / Topics
  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Treatment Access / Treatment Gap
  • Recover
Laura Kwako, PhD, Chaiperson

Dr. Laura Kwako is chief of the Treatment, Health Services, & Recovery Branch (THSRB) in the Division of Treatment and Recovery at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. THSRB supports research in broad categories including health services, behavioral health treatments and mechanisms of behavior change, recovery, translational research, and innovative methods and technologies applied across the continuum of care. Other areas of interest include topics focusing on special emphasis and underserved populations, including NIH-designated health disparity populations, individuals with co-occurring disorders, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). During Dr. Kwako’s time at NIAAA, she has been involved in development of the Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol, as well as the Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment. Dr. Kwako received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of America and completed postdoctoral clinical training at Springfield Hospital Center in Maryland, specializing in treatment for addiction and trauma-related disorders in an inpatient, primarily forensic, setting. Dr. Kwako is licensed in Washington, DC and credentialed at the NIH Clinical Research Center as a clinical psychologist.

George Koob, PhD, Presenter


George F. Koob, is Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He is also a Senior Investigator at the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse where he directs the Neurobiology of Addiction Laboratory in the Integrative Neurosciences Research Branch. As an authority on alcohol use disorder, drug addiction and stress, he has contributed to our understanding of the neurocircuitry associated with the acute reinforcing effects of alcohol and drugs and the neuroadaptations of the reward and stress circuits associated with the transition to dependence. He has published over 750 peer reviewed papers, mentored 13 Ph. D students, 85 post-doctoral fellows, 11 K99’s and authored several books including the “Neurobiology of Addiction”. He received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Physiology from Johns Hopkins University in 1972. He did post-doctoral studies at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the University of Cambridge (England). He subsequently held positions at The Salk Institute and the Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Koob is the recipient of many honors, including membership in the National Academy of Medicine (USA) and award of the Legion of Honor (France).

Brett Hagman, PhD, Presenter


Dr. Brett Hagman is a Program Director of the Treatment, Health Services, and Recovery Branch at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. As part of his responsibilities, Dr. Hagman primarily manages the recovery and behavioral treatment development portfolios in the division. Dr. Hagman is also a co-developer of the new NIAAA research definition of recovery from a DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorder, which has been disseminated to the research community over the past year.

Nancy Diazgranados, MD, Presenter


Dr. Diazgranados studied medicine at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. She trained in psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical Center combined with a master’s in pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University. She completed a clinical research fellowship in experimental therapeutics at NIMH. She currently works at NIAAA where she has been the Deputy Clinical Director since 2014. She is a diplomate of ABPM in Addiction Medicine, ABPN in Psychiatry and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Availability: On-Demand
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
No Credit Offered
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
The content on this site is intended solely to inform and educate medical professionals. This site shall not be used for medical advice and is not a substitute for the advice or treatment of a qualified medical professional.

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