This site contains information and resources related to alcohol dependence, a chronic disease that can impact people socially, psychologically, and physically. Explore below to learn more.

Alcohol dependence is not a personal failing; it’s a chronic brain disease that may make it hard to control your drinking.

Watch personal stories about alcohol dependence
Personal stories

These people changed their relationship with alcohol. Learn more by watching their stories.

These videos are sponsored by Alkermes® and the participants have been compensated. The stories are personal and do not represent all people living with alcohol dependence. The opinions expressed in these videos are those of the participants alone and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider.

What are your drinking habits?

Taking stock of your alcohol use can be a first step to assessing your drinking habits.

The following questionnaire related to alcohol dependence is based on the questions developed by the National Institutes of Health, as part of the criteria for alcohol dependence outlined in DSM-IV (4). For more information, talk to your healthcare provider. You can print your responses to this questionnaire or use the discussion guide to help start the conversation.

Answering "yes" to three or more questions in this questionnaire could be an indication of alcohol dependence. (source)

Begin the questionnaire This questionnaire is not a medical diagnosis but can be used as a first step to help you think about your drinking patterns and whether there might be a cause for concern. Share these results with your healthcare provider and, together, you and your healthcare provider can determine potential next steps and, if appropriate, discuss all your treatment options. Remember, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before making any decisions or taking action related to your health.

What is alcohol dependence?

Alcohol dependence is a chronic disease. A person with alcohol dependence craves alcoholic drinks and has a hard time controlling their drinking. Someone with this disease also needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcohol dependence affects physical and mental health, and can cause problems with family, friends, and work.

Alcohol dependence is diagnosed using criteria outlined in DSM-IV (4), the handbook used by healthcare providers to diagnose brain disorders. More recently, with the release of DSM-5, healthcare providers have started using the term alcohol use disorder (AUD). While there is a lot of overlap between alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder, there are also some important differences. You can learn more about the symptoms and criteria for each condition here. Please also talk to your healthcare provider.

Help along the way.

If you are rethinking your relationship with alcohol, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. If you are diagnosed with alcohol dependence, treatment could include one or a combination of the following:

Alcohol counseling: Therapy that involves working with a counselor to identify and help change behaviors that cause problems with drinking.

Psychosocial treatments (interventions): There are many different types of interventions, such as talk therapy, education about disease and treatment pathways, vocational training, and case management to support care coordination.

Support groups: Meetings that may range from just a few people in a rehab facility to small groups in a community center, or groups assembled virtually as part of a larger organization.

Medication: Prescribed by a healthcare provider, there are medications approved to treat alcohol dependence. Some medications are taken as an oral tablet while others are given via injection by a healthcare provider.

Is treatment right for you? Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more.

Learn about a medication option

Ready for help?

You’ve already taken an important first step by evaluating your relationship with alcohol. If you’re ready to take the next step, there are a variety of resources available to help you on your recovery pathway.
Explore what support is right for you.

Addiction Counselor

An addiction counselor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan and help you start your recovery pathway.

Find an addiction counselor

Support Group

You are not alone in your recovery journey. Support groups allow you to connect with a community of people who can help you on your path to recovery.

Find a support group

Addiction Program

There are a wide variety of addiction program options, from inpatient settings to outpatient programs.

Find an addiction program

Healthcare Provider

Your healthcare provider can diagnose alcohol dependence and help you make decisions about your treatment plan, including your medication options.

Find a healthcare provider
Healthcare provider discussion guide

Talk with your healthcare provider.

Do you have questions about your alcohol use? If you think you may need help, or just want more information, talk to your healthcare provider. This discussion guide offers some ideas on how to start the conversation.

Download now