The term alcoholism was once the official term for alcohol addiction included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. Alcoholism has since lost its official status, replaced by the term alcohol dependence in both the DSM and in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organization. Nonetheless, the term alcoholism is still typically used by lay persons as well as by researchers and clinicians in the field.

There have been many definitions of alcoholism used over the years. The differences among these definitions are perhaps a testament to the heterogeneous nature of the condition. The current diagnostic criteria used by clinicians and researchers also reflect the many ways in which alcoholism can ...

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