The American Psychiatric Association's current
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)
defines substance dependence as:
"When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. These, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders...."

According to the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence, at least three out of seven of the following criteria must be manifest during a 12 month period:
    • Tolerance
    • Withdrawal symptoms or clinically defined Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
    • Use in larger amounts or for longer periods than intended
    • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on alcohol use
    • Time is spent obtaining alcohol or recovering from effects
    • Social, occupational and recreational pursuits are given up or reduced because of alcohol use
    • Use is continued despite knowledge of alcohol-related harm (physical or psychological)

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

This material was taken from the DSM-IV. It is intended for educational purposes only.