What is the ICD 10 Code for Alcohol Use Disorder?

Touseef Riaz

July 8, 2024

alcohol use disorder icd 10

Precision is paramount in medical coding and classification. The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), is the global standard for classifying diseases and health-related issues.ICD-10 code for alcohol withdrawal alcohol use disorder (AUD), a severe and prevalent condition affecting individuals worldwide, is crucial for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and tracking of the disorder.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

alcohol use disorder icd 10

Before delving into the ICD-10 code, it’s essential to grasp what alcohol use disorder entails. AUD, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse consequences. It encompasses a spectrum of severity, ranging from mild to severe, and can significantly impact an individual’s health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

The Importance of ICD-10 Coding

ICD-10 coding is pivotal in healthcare administration, reimbursement, and epidemiological research. These alphanumeric codes provide a standardized way to classify diseases, disorders, and other health-related problems, facilitating efficient communication among healthcare professionals, insurers, and policymakers. For AUD, having a designated ICD-10 code ensures that the disorder is accurately documented, tracked, and addressed within the healthcare system.

ICD-10 Code for Alcohol Use Disorder

The specific ICD-10 code for alcohol use disorder is F10.2. This code falls under the broader category of “Mental and behavioral disorders due to psychoactive substance use” within the ICD-10 classification system. The ‘F’ indicates that it belongs to the mental and behavioral disorders chapter, while ’10’ designates the 10th revision of the classification. The ‘.2’ following the ‘F10’ signifies alcohol dependence syndrome, which encompasses severe cases of AUD.

Subtypes and Additional Codes

It’s worth noting that within the ICD-10 framework, alcohol use disorder is further classified into subtypes based on severity:

F10.20 – Alcohol dependence, uncomplicated: This code is used when alcohol dependence is present without any specific complications.

F10.21 – Alcohol dependence with withdrawal: Indicates the presence of withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol dependence.

F10.22 – Alcohol dependence with withdrawal delirium: Specifies the occurrence of delirium tremens, a severe form of alcohol withdrawal, in individuals with alcohol dependence.

F10.23 – Alcohol dependence with withdrawal with perceptual disturbance: This code is used when withdrawal from alcohol leads to perceptual disturbances, such as hallucinations.

F10.24 – Alcohol dependence with withdrawal with alcohol-induced psychotic disorder: Indicates the presence of psychotic symptoms triggered by alcohol withdrawal.

These subtypes provide additional specificity regarding the nature and severity of alcohol use disorder, enabling healthcare providers to tailor treatment plans accordingly.

Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder

To further aid in the accurate identification and classification of alcohol use disorder, healthcare professionals rely on established diagnostic criteria. The DSM-5 outlines specific criteria for diagnosing AUD, which include:

Impaired control: Difficulty controlling the amount or frequency of alcohol consumption.

Social impairment: Continued alcohol use despite its negative impact on social, occupational, or interpersonal relationships.

Risky use: Engaging in hazardous behaviors while under the influence of alcohol, such as drunk driving or operating machinery.

Tolerance: Needing increased amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect or experiencing diminished effects with continued use of the same amount.

Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms upon cessation of alcohol use, indicating alcohol dependence.

Meeting at least two of these criteria within 12 months is indicative of alcohol use disorder, with the severity ranging from mild to severe based on the number of criteria met.

Treatment and Management of Alcohol Use Disorder

Once diagnosed, the management of alcohol use disorder typically involves a multifaceted approach that may include:

Detoxification: Medically supervised withdrawal management to safely manage the acute effects of alcohol withdrawal and prevent complications such as delirium tremens.

Behavioral therapies: Counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and other behavioral interventions aim to address underlying issues, change behaviors, and promote abstinence or moderation.

Medications: Certain medications, such as acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram, may be prescribed to help reduce cravings, prevent relapse, or deter alcohol consumption by inducing unpleasant reactions.

Support groups: Participation in mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery can provide valuable peer support, encouragement, and accountability during the recovery process.

Comprehensive care: Integrated treatment approaches that address co-occurring mental health disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and other medical issues that may contribute to or result from alcohol use disorder.

Public Health Implications and Prevention Strategies

Alcohol use disorder not only poses significant individual health risks but also imposes a substantial burden on public health systems and society as a whole. Addressing AUD requires a comprehensive public health approach that includes:

Prevention: Implementing strategies to reduce the initiation of alcohol use among adolescents and young adults, such as education, enforcement of minimum legal drinking age laws, and restrictions on alcohol advertising and availability.

Early intervention: Screening and brief interventions in primary care settings to identify and address problematic alcohol use before it progresses to a more severe disorder.

Policy interventions: Implementing evidence-based policies such as increased taxation on alcohol.

  • Restrictions on marketing and advertising.
  • Regulating the availability of alcohol to reduce harmful alcohol consumption at the population level.

Community support: Providing accessible and culturally appropriate support services, treatment options, and harm reduction programs for individuals and families affected by alcohol use disorder.

Research and Innovation in Alcohol Use Disorder

Advancements in research and innovation play a crucial role in enhancing our understanding of alcohol use disorder and improving treatment outcomes. Ongoing studies explore various aspects of AUD, including its underlying neurobiology, genetic predispositions, and the effectiveness of novel interventions. Some notable areas of research include:

Neurobiology of addiction: Investigating the brain mechanisms involved in alcohol dependence and withdrawal to identify potential targets for pharmacological interventions.

Genetic and environmental factors: Studying the interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental influences in the development of alcohol use disorder to develop personalized treatment approaches.

Psychosocial interventions: Evaluating the efficacy of innovative psychosocial interventions, such as mindfulness-based therapies, digital health platforms, and telemedicine, in supporting recovery and reducing relapse rates.

Pharmacotherapy: Developing new medications and refining existing pharmacological treatments to address specific symptoms of alcohol use disorder, such as craving, withdrawal, and relapse prevention.

Digital health tools: Harnessing the power of technology to deliver personalized interventions, monitor alcohol consumption, provide real-time support, and facilitate access to care for individuals with AUD.

Addressing Stigma and Promoting Awareness

Despite the prevalence and impact of alcohol use disorder, stigma surrounding the condition persists, often hindering individuals from seeking help and accessing appropriate treatment. Promoting awareness, challenging misconceptions, and fostering empathy are essential steps in reducing stigma and promoting a supportive environment for those affected by AUD. This can be achieved through:

Education and advocacy: Raising awareness about the complexities of an alcohol use disorder, its status as a recognized medical condition, and the importance of seeking help without judgment or shame.

Personal narratives: Sharing personal stories of recovery and resilience to humanize the experience of living with AUD and inspire hope in others facing similar challenges.

Community engagement: Engaging community leaders, healthcare providers, schools, workplaces, and religious institutions in open conversations about alcohol use disorder to promote understanding and encourage supportive responses.

Media representation: Encouraging responsible media portrayals of alcohol use disorder that depict individuals with dignity and respect, avoiding sensationalism or stereotypes.

Long-Term Recovery and Relapse Prevention

Achieving and maintaining long-term recovery from alcohol use disorder often requires ongoing support and a commitment to relapse prevention strategies. While treatment interventions can provide valuable tools and coping mechanisms, the journey to recovery is often characterized by ups and downs. Therefore, it’s essential to focus on:

Continued support: Engaging in peer support groups, individual counseling, or family therapy to address underlying issues, strengthen coping skills, and maintain motivation for sobriety.

Healthy lifestyle choices: Adopting a balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques can promote overall well-being and reduce the risk of relapse.

Identifying triggers: Recognizing and avoiding situations, places, or people that may trigger cravings or temptations to drink is crucial for maintaining sobriety. Developing coping strategies to manage triggers effectively is an essential aspect of relapse prevention.

Building a supportive network: Surrounding oneself with positive influences, supportive friends, and family members who understand and respect one’s commitment to sobriety can provide valuable encouragement and accountability.

Seeking professional help: If faced with challenges or setbacks in recovery, reaching out to a healthcare provider or addiction specialist for guidance, adjustments to treatment, or additional support is vital for staying on track.

Addressing Co-occurring Disorders and Dual Diagnosis

Many individuals with alcohol use disorder also experience co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Addressing these underlying issues is essential for comprehensive treatment and long-term recovery. Integrated treatment approaches that simultaneously target both substance use and mental health disorders are often the most effective. This may involve:

Comprehensive assessment: Conduct thorough assessments to identify co-occurring disorders and understand the complex interplay between substance use and mental health symptoms.

Integrated treatment planning: Developing personalized treatment plans that address both substance use and mental health concerns concurrently, using evidence-based interventions tailored to the individual’s needs.

Collaborative care: Facilitating communication and coordination among healthcare providers, addiction specialists, and mental health professionals to ensure seamless care delivery and holistic support.

Medication management: When appropriate, prescribing medications for co-occurring mental health disorders alongside pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder, with close monitoring for interactions and side effects.

Continued monitoring and follow-up: Regularly assessing progress, monitoring symptoms, and adjusting treatment as needed to address evolving needs and optimise outcomes.

Family and Social Support

The role of family and social support cannot be overstated in the journey of recovery from alcohol use disorder. Loved ones and supportive social networks are vital in providing encouragement, understanding, and stability during challenging times. Here are some ways in which family and social support contribute to recovery:

Family therapy: Engaging in family therapy sessions can help address underlying family dynamics, communication patterns, and unresolved issues that may contribute to alcohol use disorder. Family therapy promotes open dialogue, mutual understanding, and collaborative problem-solving, fostering healthier relationships and support systems.

Al-Anon and Alateen: These support groups are specifically designed for family members and friends of individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder. Al-Anon offers a supportive environment where loved ones can share their experiences, gain insights, and learn coping strategies for dealing with the impact of a loved one’s drinking on their well-being.

Educational programs: Participating in educational programs or workshops on alcohol use disorder and its effects can help family members gain a better understanding of the condition, its treatment, and how they can support their loved one’s recovery journey effectively.

Setting boundaries: Establishing clear and healthy boundaries is essential for both individuals with alcohol use disorder and their family members. Setting boundaries around behavior, communication, and expectations can help maintain stability, reduce conflict, and protect the well-being of everyone involved.

Community support: Connecting with community resources, such as local support groups, religious organizations, or community centers, can provide additional support, camaraderie, and encouragement for individuals and families affected by alcohol use disorder.

Advocacy and Policy Reform

Advocacy efforts and policy reforms play a critical role in addressing alcohol use disorder at the societal level. By advocating for evidence-based policies, increased access to treatment, and reduced stigma, advocates and policymakers can help create a more supportive environment for individuals affected by alcohol use disorder. Some key areas of advocacy and policy reform include:

Access to treatment: Advocating for improved access to affordable, evidence-based treatment options for individuals with alcohol use disorder, including expanded coverage for counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and other supportive services.

Prevention initiatives: Supporting community-based prevention initiatives, educational campaigns, and policies aimed at reducing underage drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol-related harm.

Regulatory measures: To mitigate the societal impact of alcohol use disorder, support regulatory measures, such as restrictions on alcohol advertising and marketing, increased taxation on alcohol products, and stricter enforcement of laws related to alcohol sales and distribution.

Addressing social determinants of health: Advocating for policies and initiatives that address underlying social determinants of health, such as poverty, unemployment, housing instability, and access to education, which can contribute to alcohol misuse and addiction.

Reducing stigma: Promoting public awareness campaigns, media literacy initiatives, and community engagement efforts to reduce stigma surrounding alcohol use disorder and encourage empathetic and supportive attitudes towards individuals seeking help.


In conclusion, addressing alcohol use disorder requires a multifaceted and collaborative approach that involves individuals, families, communities, healthcare providers, policymakers, and society as a whole. By embracing evidence-based interventions, fostering supportive environments, advocating for policy reforms, and promoting compassion and understanding, we can create a society that prioritizes the health and well-being of all individuals affected by alcohol use disorder. 

Together, let us continue to work towards a future where everyone has access to the support, resources, and opportunities they need to thrive, free from the burden of alcohol misuse and addiction.


  • What is the ICD-10 code for alcohol use disorder unspecified?

The ICD-10 code for alcohol use disorder unspecified is F10.9, which is used when the specific subtype or severity of the disorder is not specified.

  • What is the difference between F10 10 and F10 20?

The main difference between F10.10 and F10.20 is that F10.10 refers to alcohol dependence without any associated complications, while F10.20 includes alcohol dependence with withdrawal symptoms.

  • What is the ICD-10 code for alcohol use disorder in full sustained remission?

The ICD-10 code for alcohol use disorder in full sustained remission is F10.93, indicating that the individual has been in remission from alcohol use disorder with no significant symptoms for an extended period.

  • What is the ICD-10 code for chronic alcoholism?

The ICD-10 code for chronic alcoholism is F10.20, which denotes alcohol dependence with withdrawal symptoms, reflecting a more severe and long-standing pattern of alcohol use disorder.

  • What is the ICD-10 code for addiction in remission?

The ICD-10 code for addiction in remission is Z71.51, which is used when an individual has completed addiction treatment and is no longer actively using substances but still requires monitoring and support to prevent relapse.

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