Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders Diagnostic Criteria Changes and Innovations in ICD-11: An Overview


  • Alice Matone Orcid
  • Claudia Gandin Orcid
  • Silvia Ghirini Orcid
  • Emanuele Scafato Orcid


Background: The new revision of the ICD came into effect on January 1st, 2022, and significant changes have been introduced in the section related to substance use disorders. Method: In the present work we describe the new ICD-11 section “Disorders due to Substance Use and Addictive Behaviors” and outline the innovations in classification and diagnosis introduced, with a view to addressing the most important issues in terms of new opportunities for identifying and caring for people in need of treatment. Results: The main innovations introduced in the ICD-11 chapter of interest are the expanded classes of psychoactive substances, the introduction of single episodes of substance use, the introduction of harmful patterns of substance use and severity qualifiers for substance intoxication. Furthermore, the new category “Disorders due to addictive behaviors” has been added, including “Gambling disorder” and the new diagnostic category “Gaming disorder”. Conclusions: ICD-11 calls for renewed public health response and policies fostering the multi-professional and multidisciplinary management of alcohol and substance abuse treatment, giving to these forms of addiction new chances also towards the reaching of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.