Alcohol Addiction Health Center

No specific physical tests diagnose alcohol addiction. Instead, doctors typically ask a series of questions to determine your alcohol-related habits. A doctor also may ask to speak with family members about your alcohol use.

Once the doctor has gathered the necessary information, he or she will usually see whether you have met at least three of the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism defined by the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" in the last year.

According to the Mayo Clinic, those criteria are as follows:

  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • Having withdrawal symptoms
  • Drinking more than intended
  • Having a continued desire to decrease the amount you drink
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or hungover
  • Neglecting important activities not related to alcohol
  • Continuing to drink despite the problems it causes
Review Date: 
March 13, 2012
Last Updated:
August 22, 2014