Alcohol use disorders are medical conditions that doctors can diagnose. In the US, about 18 million people have either alcohol dependence—perhaps better known as alcoholism—or alcohol abuse. Alcoholism, the more serious of the disorders, with symptoms such as: Craving—A strong need, or urge, to drink. Loss of control—Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun. Physical dependence—Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, & anxiety after stopping drinking.