Yes. Alcohol or drug addiction includes specific symptoms. These symptoms are used in the diagnosis, which is based on three or more of the following conditions:

  • The alcohol or drugs are consumed in larger quantities or for a longer period than the person expected.
  • The individual needs noticeably more amounts of the substance to achieve the desired intoxication effect.
  • The person experiences withdrawal effects if he or she attempts to cut down or discontinue using alcohol or drugs. Withdrawal effects vary widely between different substances and for each individual.
  • The individual has a desire to cut down or control the alcohol or drug use but is unsuccessful.
  • The person spends a lot of time in obtaining drugs or alcohol, using them, or recovering from the effects of using drugs or drinking.
  • Individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often have decreased engagement with family, friends, work, or recreational activities.
  • The addicted individual continues to drink or use drugs in spite of their knowledge of having a major health or psychological problems caused by the substance (for example, continued drinking despite an ulcer which gets worse or increasing arguments with a partner).

Those who are addicted have strong, compelling cravings to use drugs or drink no matter how dreadful and unmanageable their lives have become.

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