Determining for yourself, “am I an alcoholic” or not, is not a simple question. An alcoholic suffers from the disease formerly known as “alcoholism” (now known as alcohol use disorder).
The only way to know for sure is to have an assessment done by a professional. Like any disease, the medical community needs a set of exact guidelines to use when diagnosing a condition. The Behavioral Health community uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM has recently updated the criteria for alcoholism. One of the most significant revisions was “Alcoholism” is no longer the latest terminology. Alcoholism is now “Alcohol Use Disorder” (AUD)
People who are alcohol abusers can somewhat control their drinking to some degree. However, alcohol abusers can also be destructive to themselves and those they love and will often get alcoholism is progressive, within a matter of time. As a guide, here are some questions that will help you determine if your drinking habits place you in this category.
- 1. Do you constantly neglect your responsibilities due to drinking? It can include work, school, and even family or social obligations.
- 2. Are you reckless in your consumption of alcohol by drinking when it is dangerous? Some famous examples include drinking and driving or mixing alcohol consumption with prescription medicine.
- 3. Do you find yourself in constant or repeated legal trouble because of your drinking habits?
- 4. Do you drink even though alcohol is causing significant problems in your current relationships?
- 5. Are you choosing to drink from the need to relax or reduce stress?
10 Question Self Test for Alcoholism
Deciding whether to get a professional assessment is not an easy decision.
If you answer yes to four or more of these questions, it indicates alcohol consumption is becoming a problem, and it may be time to seek help.
- Have you ever decided to stop drinking?
- Have you ever switched from whiskey to beer or wine?
- Do you ever need a drink in the morning to feel better?
- Do you envy people who can drink “normally”?
- Does alcohol cause you problems at home?
- Do you ever think a few drinks is not enough?
- Do you ever go out for a few drinks and end up drunk?
- Have you ever missed work (or school) due to drinking?
- Have you ever ‘blacked out’ due to alcohol?
- Do you think you might have a drinking problem?
Key Indicators of Alcoholism
Like other potentially fatal illnesses, alcoholism can go into remission with the proper care and treatment. However, those who drink ‘too much’ may be on the verge of alcoholism.
The term “alcoholic” has a certain amount of negative connotations. Being labeled as an alcoholic may generate judgments of that person’s character and moral fiber.
Many other indicators could help assess the possibility of a drinking problem, such as feelings of guilt or shame and lying to friends and family about your alcohol consumption.
Have you ever needed a drink to help you relax or make yourself feel better?
Do you often drink far more than you intended to?
You might have found that slippery slope that leads to alcoholism without realizing it.
Alcoholic beverages enjoyed in moderation may not impact your overall health, but like all things, drinking can quickly become a habit. Enjoying wine, spirits, or beer for special occasions isn’t as likely to cause drinking problems, but continued use in social settings could lead to a habit that is hard to break and very hard on your health.
Understanding The Disease of Alcohol Use Disorder
It isn’t always black and white when looking at evidence suggesting alcoholism, and the road to problem drinking is a slippery slope that often begins with moderate use.
The risks of alcoholism are exceptionally high if your alcohol consumption occurs when you are stressed or depressed.
Several emotional elements and other mental health problems, such as anxiety issues or bipolar disorder, can put you at high risk for alcoholism since people who try to ‘medicate’ themselves typically use alcohol.
However, these are not the only reasons for alcohol abuse, as many other interrelated factors can lead to a drinking problem.
Some of these influences can include an individual’s genetic background and social environment, emotional health, and childhood events.
Family history, and more specifically, the drinking habits of close relatives to whom you closely relate, can also increase the likelihood of developing a drinking problem.
You may be surprised to know that ethnicity also plays an active role in determining the probability of alcohol abuse since Native Alaskans and American Indians are more prone to the risks of alcoholism than other racial groups.
Culture can also play an active role in the onset of alcoholism, as drinking is more prevalent among some cultural groups.
More factors help define the problem of alcoholism or alcohol abuse. Because alcoholism is something that sneaks up on you gradually, you should be aware of the indicators that point to a potential problem. Taking steps to prevent this occurrence is your best defense against the disease.
The line between social drinking and problem drinking is blurred, which is why so many people become alcoholics without realizing they have a drinking problem. These drinkers fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, leading to the crisis affecting several other aspects of their lives and even the people they love most.
Looking closely at how alcohol affects your life is the best way to assess a possible drinking problem. Some believe that when drinking starts causing problems in your life, there is a drinking problem. According to the experts, there are two types of problem drinkers: alcoholics and alcohol abusers.
The Bottom Line
Alcoholism was known as “alcohol dependence.” It is now called “Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). AUD is a fatal, progressive disease. So the question of being an alcoholic comes down to whether a person is suffering from the illness of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
AA is one of the most prevalent organizations in the United States, known for its help in teaching people to assess and learn to control their drinking problems.