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Alcohol is widely used in society; therefore, it is easy for people to deny when they have developed a problem with their alcohol use.

Alcohol use problems often start gradually and develop over time.

Features of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Drinking more or longer than planned.
  • Efforts to limit or control drinking without success.
  • Spending a lot of time to obtain alcohol, drink it or recovering from the effects.
  • Obsessive thinking about when you can drink next, cravings or urges to drink.
  • Repeated alcohol use which results in problems with family, work, studies or social situations.
  • Continuing drinking despite problems caused at home, socially, at work.
  • Interruptions or reduction of important social, occupational or recreative activities because of alcohol use.
  • Repeated use of alcohol in situations in which it is inappropriate or dangerous.
  • Continuing drinking in spite of knowing that it is causing or worsening a physical health or psychological problem.
  • Developing tolerance, thus needing to use more alcohol to achieve the same or desired effect.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol (for example sweating, high pulse, tremor, sleeplessness, nausea, anxiety, etc.) due to not drinking.
  • Drinking secretly or hiding drinking from others.
  • Experiencing guilt feelings or shame due to drinking.
  • Drinking to suppress emotions or stress or to avoid thinking about troubles or issues.


Alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe or can be in a binge pattern. If you or the people close to you are experiencing distress due to your alcohol use, there might be reason for concern. Alcohol use disorder tends to be progressive over time, getting worse as time goes on.