Skip to main content


Empower Yourself: Recognizing Signs of Alcohol Dependency

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. In North Dakota, about 20% of adults aged 18-25 and 16% of adults 26+ met the criteria for alcohol use disorder in the past year. 35% of Heartview patients say alcohol is their drug of choice.

If you or a loved one is unsure if it is time to get help, Heartview is here for you.

How much is too much?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines:

Drinking in moderation-

  • Men- 2 or less drinks in a day
  • Women- 1 drink or less in a day

Binge Drinking-

  • Men- 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a few hours, at least 1 day in the last month
  • Women- 4 or more drinks within a few hours, at least 1 day in the last month

Heavy Alcohol Use-

  • Men- 5 or more drinks on any day or 15+ per week
  • Women- 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week
  • Binge drinking 5+ days in the past month

What are the symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder?

Addiction counselors and other professionals use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to assess whether a person has Alcohol Use Disorder, and the severity of the disorder.

The number of criteria a person meets determines the severity of the disorder (mild: 2-3 criteria, moderate: 4-5 criteria, or severe- 6+)

Note: Because alcohol is legal, it is often considered to be safe. However, depending on how much alcohol you are consuming and how often, detoxing from alcohol can be extremely dangerous and can lead to a coma or death. Please consult a medical professional before attempting to detox alone.

In the past year,

  • Have there been times (even occasional), you drink more or for a longer time than you planned to?
  • Have you ever tried or wanted to cut down on drinking, but couldn’t?
  • Do you spend a lot of time drinking, planning for drinking, purchasing alcohol, or recovering from drinking? Try keeping track for a few weeks of how long you are spending on alcohol-related activities.
  • Do you crave alcohol so much that you have trouble focusing on anything else?
  • Is your alcohol use resulting in trouble with work, school, or home life?
  • Do you continue to drink even though it is causing problems with friends, family, or coworkers?
  • Do you drink and drive or drink in other situations that are dangerous?
  • Do you continue to drink even though it is causing physical or mental health problems?
  • Has your tolerance increased? Do you need much more alcohol to feel the way you want to feel?
  • Have you had any withdrawal symptoms(nausea, tremors, sweating, anxiety, headaches, hallucinations, agitation, etc.)? Or do you use alcohol to prevent withdrawal?

What do I do if I am not sure if I have a problem or if I am ready to get help?

Anyone is welcome to call Heartview’s intake department at 701-751-6129. If you do not have insurance or you are worried about cost, we have a team who will walk you through the process of applying for assistance.

Individuals can also come to Heartview Bismarck’s outpatient evaluation walk-in services at 101 E Broadway, Bismarck, Monday through Thursday, from 8-10 a.m. No appointment is needed; however, evaluation slots may fill quickly.



National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism