Alcohol dependence digital illustration

Alcohol dependence Save

ICD-10 code: F10.2

Chapter: Mental and behavioural disorders

Understanding Alcohol Dependence: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Alcohol dependence is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a chronic disease that is characterized by a strong urge to drink alcohol, even when it causes significant harm to one's health, relationships, or career. Alcohol dependence can lead to a range of physical, psychological, and social problems, and can be difficult to overcome without professional help.

Causes of Alcohol Dependence

There is no single cause of alcohol dependence. Rather, it is a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Some people may be more prone to developing alcohol dependence due to their genetic makeup, while others may develop the condition as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, or depression. Environmental factors such as peer pressure, availability of alcohol, and cultural norms can also contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence can manifest in a variety of ways. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Craving for alcohol
  2. Inability to control alcohol consumption
  3. Tolerance to alcohol, requiring increased amounts to achieve the same effect
  4. Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut back on alcohol
  5. Continuing to drink despite negative consequences, such as legal or financial problems, relationship difficulties, or health issues
Treatment Options for Alcohol Dependence

There are several effective treatment options available for alcohol dependence. The most common form of treatment is behavioral therapy, which helps individuals change their attitudes and behaviors toward alcohol. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, and motivational interviewing, which helps individuals find the motivation to change their drinking habits.

Medications can also be helpful in treating alcohol dependence. These can include medications that help reduce cravings for alcohol or medications that help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. In severe cases, inpatient rehabilitation may be necessary to help individuals detox from alcohol and receive round-the-clock medical care.


Alcohol dependence is a serious condition that can have far-reaching consequences. However, with the right treatment and support, individuals can overcome their dependence on alcohol and lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.