Am I an Alcoholic?: Self-EvaluationIf you have one or more of the above symptoms and you would like to investigate further, there are self-screening tests that are confidential and free to help you better understand your drinking habits. One is the CAGE Alcohol Assessment Quiz, which, although only four questions long, is said to identify 9 out of 10 alcoholics. Another is the AUDIT Alcohol Assessment Quiz, which was designed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and consists of 10 multiple-choice questions.
Am I an Alcoholic?: Warning Signs
Behavioral Signs of AlcoholismSome behaviors are strong indicators that an alcohol abuse problem is developing or in progress. Specific signs, habits, and behaviors to look for include the following:
Neglect of Important ResponsibilitiesFailure to attend to critical responsibilities might include, but are certainly not limited to, poor performance at school or work, neglect of family members (including children), not paying bills on time, and avoiding social commitments due to being drunk or hungover.
Risk-Taking and Encountering Legal IssuesAlcoholics often take risks that they otherwise would not if they were sober. In addition to drinking and driving, they might drink alcohol while taking medication that recommends against it, engage in dangerous activities such as swimming while drunk or performing stunts, or showing up to events intoxicated to the horror and embarrassment of loved ones. As a result of DUIs, charges for public intoxication or participating in domestic violence, alcoholics tend to have brushes with the law due to their risky behavior and sometimes illegal activities.
Drinking to Relieve StressMany cultures normalize the desire to have a drink or two after work or before bed to wind down, de-stress, and relax. The problem is that this “want” can turn into a “need” as a person develops a psychological dependence on alcohol. Alcohol abusers often think of this type of drinking as a personal right and a reward that may or may not actually be warranted.
Drinking in Spite of Strained RelationshipsAlcoholics usually encounter personal problems due to their drinking habits. Some people take these problems seriously, and when addressed, decide to cut back, quit, or seek help. Many individuals, however, apologize repeatedly but do not change their habits or behavior. Some simply keep reassuring others that they WILL change or that everything’s okay. Still others begin hiding alcohol in places that only they know and drink in secret hoping that those concerned will not notice and leave them alone. Other warning signs of alcoholism include the following:
- Loss of interest in activities that were once found to be enjoyable
- Having cravings for alcohol
- Withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use (sweating, anxiety, etc.)
- Extreme moodiness, irritability, and agitation
- Feelings of guilt associated with drinking habits
- Drinking first thing in the morning to stave off a hangover or withdrawal symptoms (hair of the dog)
- Inability to reduce the amount of alcohol that is consumed or stop entirely