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Diagnosing Alcoholism and Alcohol Dependence in accordance to the DSM

Alcoholism and alcohol dependence not only affect the person binge drinking but also the people around them.

It’s not easy to convince someone that they drink too much, nor is it easy to admit to yourself that you have a drinking problem.

In this article, our rehabilitation centre provides the common behaviours of someone who has a drinking problem. We hope that this information can be shared and used to help someone change their life.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Dependence in accordance to the DSM

Alcoholism in accordance to the DSM

In order to diagnosis alcohol abuse, an individual must display at least one of the following characteristics in the past year:

*Information is taken directly from the National Institutes of Health - DSM-IV-TR 


  • - Recurrent use of alcohol resulting in a failure to fulfil major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to alcohol use; alcohol-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household).
  • - Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by alcohol use).
  • - Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol-related disorderly conduct).
  • - Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication).


Alcohol Dependence

To diagnose alcohol dependence, an individual must exhibit at least 3 of the following 7 symptoms:

*Information is taken directly from the National Institutes of Health - DSM-IV-TR


  • - Need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  • - The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol; or drinking (or using a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • - Drinking in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • - Persistent desire or one or more unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking.
  • - Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced because of drinking.
  • - A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects of drinking.
  • - Continued drinking despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by drinking.


Am I an Alcoholic?

Do you or your loved one meet any of the above criteria?

It’s important to understand that if you ignore this problem, it won’t just go away. It will become worse; your or their drinking will increase and it will end up hurting yourself and the ones you love.

Often we feel ashamed of our problems, choosing to avoid them instead of admitting to them. We feel alone and isolated from our loved ones.

However, the truth is, it our addiction stopping us from feeling good and understanding our emotions. It is our addiction stopping us from having a healthy, fulfilled life. It is our addiction holding us back from connecting with the people we love.

Admitting that you have a problem doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re strong. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a person wanting to grow.

Admitting that you have a problem doesn’t imply that you’re a bad parent, it shows that you are putting yourself and your children’s needs ahead of your addiction.

Step Away Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre

Admitting that you have a problem is the first step towards a better life. Step Away can help you do this.

For more information about our treatment programme or rehabilitation centre, please contact us.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.


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