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How To Know if You Have a Problem With Alcohol


If you tend to spend a lot of time drinking, you might be worried about the possibility of alcohol addiction. There are a few tools you can use to gain insight into whether or not it is time to fix your relationship with drinking. In this post, we’ll talk about definitions, symptoms, and the AUDIT self-test.

Alcoholism, like any addiction, refers to a type of abuse that is happening compulsively. However, this definition is difficult to apply to oneself alone. With the cultural acceptance of social drinking, it’s often hard to draw the line between a free decision and a compulsion.

The definitions we choose need to include this nuance. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder (AUD) as “problem drinking that becomes severe.” In other words, if the effects of alcohol in your life are bringing some serious consequences, it’s a clear warning sign that alcohol use has become compulsive and could be grounded in physical dependence.

There are some symptoms that can indicate that your drinking has gotten severe, including:

  • Drinking alone or secretively
  • Drinking more on occasions than you plan
  • Blacking out
  • Drinking ritualistically, (e.g. always after meals or work, or at set times of the day)
  • Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

AUDIT is the name of a questionnaire developed by the WHO to test for AUD and problem drinking. At the end of the day, although a health professional should oversee screening for alcoholism, you can still run through the questions at home to give yourself a better understanding of what is going on.

Before we start, we need to define what constitutes a single drink by the test’s parameters. AUDIT’s definitions are broadly similar to alcoholic units:

  • One twelve-ounce bottle or can of beer (maximum 5% alcohol)
  • One five-ounce glass of wine (approx. 12% alcohol)
  • One shot of liquor (1.5 ounces of approx. 40% alcohol)

 

1. How often do you drink alcohol?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Monthly or less (1)
  • c) 2-4 times per month (2)
  • d) 2-3 times per week (3)
  • e) 4 or more times a week (4)

2. How many standard drinks do you have when you typically drink?

  • a) 1-2 (0)
  • b) 3-4 (1)
  • c) 5-6 (2)
  • d) 7-9 (3)
  • e) 10+ (4)

3. How frequently do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

4. How often during the past year have you struggled to stop drinking or found that you’re drinking more than you planned?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

5. How often during the past year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of your drinking?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

6. How often during the past year have you had a drink in the morning after a heavy drinking session?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

7. How often during the past year have you felt remorseful after drinking?

  • a) Never (0)
  • b) Less than monthly (1)
  • c) Monthly (2)
  • d) Weekly (3)
  • e) Daily/almost daily (4)

8. Has drinking ever left you unable to remember last night’s events?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

9. Has drinking ever led to either you or someone else being injured?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

10. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or health care worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested that you cut down?

  • a) No (0)
  • b) Yes, not in the past year (2)
  • c) Yes, in the past year (4)

Once you finish the test, add up your scores for each question. If you reach a total of 8 to 14, the AUDIT has flagged some risky or hazardous drinking behavior. A score that hits 15 and above indicates that you are probably suffering from AUD.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at ES

If you think you may be struggling with alcoholism, we are here to help. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed treatment center located near the southern New Jersey shore. We offer each client an individualized treatment plan, equipping them with the skills they need to overcome this disease.

Our treatment program is founded in the 12-step philosophy, and we provide a range of services to our clients. Our treatment modalities include traditional psychotherapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, and family constellation therapy. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, call us today at (833) 801-5483.