Great question . There are many stages of alcohol use. When someone is an alcoholic, they drink despite serious side effects and may go into withdrawal if they don't have it. As a screening, I use cage questions: have you felt the need to cut down, annoyed by comments on your drinking, guilt over drinking and do you have a drink when you wake as an eye opener.
Answer following ?? To detect alcoholism, 2 out of the following questions are answered in the affirmative(yes): 1. Have you felt the need to cut down on your drinking? 2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? 3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking? 4. Have you needed a drink first thing in the morning as an eye opener to steady your nerves or get to rid of a hangover?
Broad definition . Alcoholic technically not a medical term. The point is many alcoholics in recovery decided for one reason or another that alcohol was not working out for them anymore, or perhaps someone else "helped" them realize this. Loss of control, i.e. Cant have just one or two drinks and stop. Negative consequences from drinking, to health, job, relationships etc., and strong cravings are good indicators.