Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic disease characterized by an inability to control alcohol consumption despite negative consequences.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 17 million adults suffer from AUD.
This self-assessment can help you recognize some of the warning signs of alcoholism. Think about your past year, and if you answer yes to any of the questions on this list, you may have a drinking problem.
The following questions are based on diagnostic criteria established by the DSM-5 and used by healthcare professionals:
1. Have I Lost Control Of My Drinking?
Some people are able to occasionally drink alcohol and stop after a moderate amount. Those who struggle with alcohol abuse may find it difficult to stop after one drink. They may suddenly find themselves drunk or experiencing frequent blackouts, despite their good intentions.
2. Have I Tried Unsuccessfully To Cut Down Or Stop Drinking?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can be difficult to overcome on your own. People may begin drinking heavily to cope with mental health problems or because they enjoy the effects of alcohol.
However, people don’t always recognize they have a problem until they have already become addicted. Once someone is addicted, it is not likely that they can stop on their own. Changes in the brain can cause intense cravings that lead to continued drinking.
3. Has My Drinking Interfered In My Relationships With Loved Ones?
When someone has a drinking problem, alcohol can take priority over family and friends. A person with alcoholism may neglect self-care, responsibilities, and make impulsive decisions.
This can lead to consequences that can cause rifts between family members or loved ones. Support groups can help loved ones understand how substance use disorders affect how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.
4. Do I Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About Alcohol?
People who struggle with alcohol dependence may find themselves anxious about when and how they will be able to drink again.
Even if you do not want to drink, you may experience intense cravings for alcohol. Cravings involve thoughts, physical sensations, and feelings that motivate you to continue drinking.
Cravings can make you feel like you’ve lost control. However, treatment and support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, can help you learn to manage and lessen your cravings.
5. Have I Engaged In High Risk Behavior Because Of My Drinking?
Drinking alcohol often lowers inhibitions and can lead to impulsive behavior. In addition, someone with alcoholism is likely to drink frequently. They may drink at inappropriate situations, like while driving or after taking prescription medications.
This can lead to legal problems, like arrests, DUIs, and probation. Heavy drinking along with drug abuse can have life-threatening consequences.
6. Have I Lost Interest In Activities I Used To Enjoy?
Many people have hobbies they enjoy doing outside of work, school, and taking care of family. These activities are an important part of life and improve well-being. People with alcoholism often find less enjoyment in activities that don’t involve drinking.
7. Has My Drinking Interfered With Work Or School?
Someone with alcoholism often spends most of their time focused on drinking or dealing with the aftereffects of drinking (hangovers). They may frequently call in sick or miss important assignments and face consequences.
This can lead to job loss or financial difficulties that can affect relationships and quality of life. Someone with alcoholism is likely to continue drinking, despite these consequences.
8. Do I Continue To Drink Despite Health Issues Related To Alcohol?
Alcohol is associated with dangerous health complications. Excessive drinking can change brain chemistry and increase depression and anxiety. It also increases the risk of physical health issues like liver disease, heart disease and stroke.
However, even in the face of these consequences, it can be difficult for someone with alcoholism to stop drinking.
9. Do I Need More Alcohol To Achieve The Same Effects As When I Started Drinking?
Daily drinking for a period of time may cause alcohol to have a lesser effect. Individuals may need increasingly higher amounts of alcohol to experience the desired effect. This is known as tolerance and is commonly associated with substance abuse.
10. Do I Experience Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms When I Cut Back Or Stop Drinking?
When someone is alcohol dependent, they may experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink. As the alcohol leaves their system, they may experience nausea, tremors, and anxiety. In severe cases, people can experience hallucinations and seizures.
These symptoms can be dangerous and require immediate care.
If you think your drinking habits are related to alcohol addiction, you may benefit from an addiction treatment program. Please contact Ark Behavioral Health today to learn about our treatment options.