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Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Dependence

A maladaptive pattern of alcohol use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three or more of the following seven criteria, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
1.       Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
a)      A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
b)      Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
2.       Withdrawal, as defined by either of the following:
a)      The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to DSM-IV for further details).
b)      Alcohol is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
3.       Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
4.       There is a persistent desire or there are unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
5.       A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol or recover from its effects.
6.       Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
7.       Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the alcohol (e.g., continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).

  1. DSM-IV. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC.

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