Alcohol is a substance that can be abused and also that can cause dependence. In either case, the following are signs that someone may have an alcohol use disorder (AUD):

  • Consuming large quantities of alcohol for an extended period of time;
  • Having a strong desire for alcohol;
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol;
  • Having difficulty or being unable to reduce alcohol consumption;
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping alcohol use.

The following are ways that alcohol can harm someone and are also signs of an AUD:

  • Consuming alcohol takes up a large a lot of the person’s time;
  • Obtaining alcohol takes up a lot of the person’s time and money;
  • Not fulfilling responsibilities due to alcohol use;
  • Having social problems due to alcohol use;
  • Making poor decisions and endangering oneself or others due to alcohol use;
  • Having health problems due to alcohol use.

Alcohol use can have many many negative effects on health and is especially damaging to the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system.  A few examples of related disorders are Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis, and increased cancer risk.