Alcohol dependence occurs when a person has a physical or emotional
dependence on the use of alcohol that leads to significant impairment or
A person is diagnosed as being alcohol-dependent if at least three
of the following are true. The person:
Needs larger amounts of alcohol to feel its
Has withdrawal symptoms (such as shakiness,
confusion, or agitation) when he or she does not drink alcohol, or continues to
drink alcohol to avoid these symptoms.
Drinks alcohol in larger
amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
thinks about or tries to cut down on or control drinking but is not
Spends a great deal of time trying to get alcohol,
using it, or recovering from its effects.
activities because of alcohol use.
Continues to drink even though
it causes or makes worse another health condition (such as an ulcer) or even if it causes
legal or work problems.
Treatment for alcohol dependence includes education and support to
stop drinking, medicines to reduce withdrawal symptoms and stop alcohol
cravings, and professional counseling to work through relationship
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.