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Alcohol Addictions

Abstract: There are established conditions for defining alcohol dependence.

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Alcohol Addictions

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

When are you Addicted to Alcohol? When are you an Alcohol Addict?


To be able to determine whether someone is dependent or addicted to alcohol, this person must fulfill certain conditions that have been determined by the World Health Organization (WHO), amongst others.

The following are conditions for alcohol addiction (you don't have to fulfill all of these conditions):

  • Tolerance (need more alcohol to still feel the effect).
  • Psychological dependence (have a desire for alcohol, varying from very little to very much).
  • Withdrawal symptoms (get all kinds of physical reactions after you stop).
  • Use alcohol to reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Failed attempts to control the alcohol use.
  • Spend a great deal of time on the use of alcohol or on the recovery of its use.
  • Damaging effects due to the use on the person itself and its surroundings (problems at work or school, arguments with the people around the addict, dedicate less time to hobbies, illnesses).
  • Use alcohol more frequently and in higher doses than planned.
  • Continue to use alcohol even if you know it is damaging for you.

When clients go to a treatment center, the first thing that will be found out is the severity of the addiction. The EuropASI (Addiction Severity Index) is a test that is used by many institutions to determine the alcohol use and the other problems. You can also find many tests on the Internet.

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