A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to determining whether an individual has a drinking problem: Those who don’t, don’t spend an inordinate amount of time wondering if they do.
If your drinking concerns you, then it’s worth examining whether you may have a problem. There are varying degrees of alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the severity of that disorder — Mild, Moderate or Severe — depends on the number of criteria a person meets.
To determine where you fall on the spectrum, consider the answers to the following questions. Have you:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more or longer than you intended?
- Wanted to cut down or stop drinking on more than one occasion but found that you could not?
- Spent a lot of your time drinking, being sick from drinking or getting over hangovers?
- Experienced a craving for alcohol (i.e., a strong need, or urge, to drink)?
- Suffered negatively at home, at work or at school because of interference from your drinking, or recovering from hangover-related sickness?
- Kept drinking, even though it causes problems with family and friends?
- Eliminated or cut back on important activities, interests or hobbies because they interfered with your drinking?
- Engaged in activities that could have caused you harm (driving, unsafe sex, swimming, physical altercations) because of your drinking?
- Kept drinking despite negative consequences to your health or your overall state of mind, or after repeated blackouts?
- Found yourself having to drink more than you once did to achieve the buzz you want?
- Discovered that you suffer physical withdrawal symptoms when coming down from alcohol — i.e., trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, depression, nausea, sweating or hallucinations?
If you answer “yes” to any of these symptoms, then your drinking may be a cause for concern. A “yes” to two or three of these symptoms indicates an Alcohol Use Disorder diagnosis of Mild; four to five “yes” answers indicates a Moderate diagnosis; and six or more qualifies as a Severe disorder — alcoholism, in laymen’s terms.
That’s not a reason to panic. First and foremost, it means you’re not alone: According to the NIAAA, “an estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD. Approximately 6.2 percent, or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older, had AUD in 2015. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2015, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.”
The 12th question, if your answers concern you, should be this: What are you going to do about it? There is help, and there is hope, at alcoholism treatment facilities like Cornerstone of Recovery. Call our Admissions Department today for an assessment or to explore the option of alcohol rehab.