A pattern of excessive alcohol use that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress. Diagnostic criteria include a strong desire to drink alcohol, difficulties in controlling its use, risky use, e.g., driving or operating machinery while under the influence, persisting in its use despite harmful personal, social and occupational consequences, pathological organ changes, increased tolerance and physical withdrawal symptoms.
Disorders related to recurrent use of drugs other than alcohol that cause clinically and functionally significant impairment such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home. Diagnostic criteria include intense cravings; impaired control of the amount and frequency taken; persisting in use despite harmful personal, social and occupational consequences; risky use, e.g., driving or operating machinery while under the influence; increased tolerance and physical withdrawal symptoms.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.