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.
What is Alcohol Dependence?
About Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol dependence is a chronic disease in which a person craves drinks that contain alcohol and is unable to control their drinking. A person 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, 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 AUD, 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.
Fact: In 2018, about 14.4 million adults had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the US. (Source: NIAAA)
Fact: Excessive drinking is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. (Source: CDC)
Fact: The rate of all alcohol-related emergency department visits increased 47% between 2006 and 2014.
Fact: Since the start of the pandemic, monthly drinking days have increased 14% over baseline for American adults. (Source: JAMA)
For these people, their relationship with alcohol needed to change. Watch their personal stories with alcohol dependence here.
What is your drinking pattern?
Taking stock of your alcohol use can be a first step to assess your drinking patterns. 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. If you would like more information talk to your healthcare provider. You can also print your responses to this questionnaire and take them to your healthcare provider and ask for more information. Answering “yes” to three or more questions in this questionnaire (based on DSM-IV) 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.
Healthcare provider discussion guide
Talking with your healthcare provider about alcohol dependence
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 may offer some ideas on how to start the conversation.Download now