Problem Drinking

September 6th, 2012

Problem drinking is a term used to describe an individual’s drinking habits when their drinking cause’s difficulties in their social, occupational, recreational, family and physical life.

This is usually a stage people pass through on their way to becoming a fully fledged alcoholic (diagnosed with alcohol dependence).

If you’re unsure whether you have a drinking problem or not see here: http://wedorecover.com/addiction-help/do-i-have-a-drinking-problem/ and feel free to contact us at any time for help assessing your drinking.

Here are the DSM IV criteria for alcohol abuse and dependence (Addiction)

“DSM-IV Criteria for Alcohol Abuse:

A maladaptive pattern of alcohol abuse leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

Recurrent alcohol use resulting in failure to fulfil major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions or expulsions from school; or 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).
Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol-related disorderly conduct).
Continued alcohol use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the alcohol (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication or physical fights).

These symptoms must never have met the criteria for alcohol dependence.

DSM-IV 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:

Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:

A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.

Withdrawal, as defined by either of the following:

  • The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to DSM-IV for further details).
  • Alcohol is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • There is a persistent desire or there are unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol or recover from its effects.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
  • 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).

American Psychiatric Association. 1994. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: APA.”

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