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Alcohol Dependence
“Alcohol dependence” means the person is physically dependent on alcohol. Diagnosis generally requires three or more of these symptoms within a 12-month period:
• A great deal of time spent in obtaining, using, or recovering from use of alcohol
• Difficulty controlling drinking, i.e. persistent desire to drink or unsuccessful attempts to cut down on drinking
• Physical withdrawal symptoms when alcohol use is stopped or decreased, or drinking to relieve withdrawal symptoms
• Tolerance: increased amounts of alcohol are required to achieve the same effects
Giving up or reducing important activities because of alcohol use
• Drinking more or longer than intended
• Continued use despite recurrent psychological or
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(Eds.). (2007). Alcohol/drug screening and brief intervention: Advances in evidence-based practice. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Medical Press.
Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (SBIRT). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Comprehensive source for SBIRT information. Includes training manuals, online resources, links to organizations and publications, and list of references.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2007). Alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) for traumapatients: Committee on Trauma quick guide.
Substance Use Screening & Assessment Instruments Database. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington.(Updated every month). Helps clinicians and researchers find instruments for screening and assessment of substance use.
Practitioner Training
Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Updated 2005 edition. NIH Publication No. 05-3769. NIAAA-funded guide to screening and brief intervention for primary care and mental health clinicians.
Video Cases: Helping People Who Drink Too Much.

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