Background/Aims: This study examines whether it is harmful that subjects with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the general population rarely seek treatment. Methods: Baseline and 3-year follow-up data from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 were used. Treatment utilization covered a 4-year period. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 assessed AUD and other psychiatric disorders. Results: Of 154 subjects with baseline 12-month DSM-5 AUD, 35.4% used only general treatment (GenTx) for mental problems or alcohol/drugs problems; 10.3% used specialized AUD treatment (AUDTx); and 54.3% used no treatment at all. Of these 3 groups, AUDTx users had the highest severity on AUD characteristics, comorbid psychopathology and mental functioning. Compared to non-treatment (NonTx), GenTx users more often had 12-month emotional disorders at follow-up, but AUD remission rates and functioning were similar. NonTx users functioned similarly at follow-up as people in the general population without lifetime AUD or other psychopathology. Conclusion: Adequate treatment seeking often occurs in the general population: the most severe AUD subjects use AUDTx, and most NonTx users have a mild AUD and a favorable course. Current findings suggest a smaller treatment gap than previously reported, but still one-quarter of the people with AUD do not seek AUDTx but could benefit from this, as they have a persistent AUD.

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