If you worry that you might have a drinking problem or sometimes ask yourself, “Am I an alcoholic?” or “Do I drink too much?”—you’re not alone. According to recent national survey responses, fourteen million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD). See how to spot alcoholism, what alcohol use disorder really is, and the warning signs of a drinking problem with the Alcoholic quiz.
“Am I an Alcoholic?” Quiz: Compare Your Drinking Habits to AUD
This quiz is based on questions from SAMHSA, Mayo Clinic, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). They can help you assess an alcohol addiction by looking at behavior in the past year. By answering questions on your alcohol consumption, you can see if the information lines up with a factual diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. Read on to learn about proven treatment options like support groups, therapies, medical advice, and medication for yourself, friends, or family.
Self-assessment with this point-based Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is one of the first ways people realize they have a problem. (Though it’s no substitute for a treatment provider’s medical opinion and the results are not a diagnosis, this simple quiz helps you take small steps toward understanding your drinking habits to change the way you approach alcohol.)
Defining Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorder: What’s the Difference?
Alcoholics are severely dependent on alcohol to manage their moods and give them a sense of ease. Excessive alcohol consumption and, sometimes, a physical compulsion to drink are also important factors that healthcare providers note when making diagnoses and alcohol treatment decisions. Those who experience AUD often endure mental health and physical problems due to the health risks they take while drinking. But, the term “alcoholic” is not recognized by medical professionals and treatment specialists in the clinical practice of treating alcohol abuse as a substance use disorder (SUD).
Instead, “alcohol use disorder” and alcohol dependence are used by health professionals to diagnose and treat the condition of alcoholism. The best medical approach to addiction treatment classifies alcohol use disorder into groups:
- Mild alcohol dependence
- Moderate alcohol dependence
- High alcohol dependence.
These categories signal larger and larger amounts of alcohol consumption and cravings. To be diagnosed, you must show many of the 11 symptoms outlined by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a tool for health professionals to diagnose mental health disorders. If many symptoms show up in the last year, it decides how severely you have alcoholism or AUD.
Heavy Drinking vs. Binge Drinking: What Makes Me an Alcoholic?
Professionals use two definitions of problem drinking to describe and treat alcohol use based on the number of standard drinks consumed to measure substance abuse:
- Heavy drinking is how much you might drink during a one-week period.
For example, two drinks per day (or more than 14 drinks per week) makes a heavy drinker for men under 65. Over the age of 65, men drinking once per day (or more than seven drinks per week) make heavy drinkers. It’s about 10 drinks or glasses of wine for women as a good rule of thumb.
- Binge drinking is how much you might drink within a few hours.
Drinking five or more drinks within two hours defines a man as a binge drinker. Women who consume four or more drinks in the same period are considered binge drinkers. Know that, when you see these signs of alcohol addiction, excessive drinking leads to alcohol dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and alcohol use disorder.
Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder: What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
Sometimes excessive drinkers—like heavy drinkers and binge drinkers—have alcohol use disorder, but not all. When excessive drinkers decide to quit, they quickly improve their lives, feel more energy, and have better relationships.
Unlike this, someone with alcohol use disorder can’t stop drinking easily, and they relapse into the destructive habit again and again. Excessive drinkers may not have an emotional, psychological, or physical dependence on alcohol like true alcoholism.
Society promotes drinking at many levels. So it can be hard to understand if drinking is a problem in your life because of the constant encouragement to drink. If you ask yourself “Am I an alcoholic?” or “Do I drink too much?”—watch for these warning signs and common symptoms of alcoholism:
- Drinking despite person, professional, and medical problems
- Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Losing interest in non-drinking activities
- Putting drinking before responsibilities
- Losing control of how much you drink
- Having irritable moods and mood swings
- Being unable to stop drinking
- Having cravings for alcohol
- Doing secret or morning drinking
- Feeling guilty about drinking
Alcohol use disorder varies, but these symptoms are standard for those who have AUD. If you see them in your life (or someone else’s), get treatment for the alcohol use disorder by talking to a professional.
Compare your drinking patterns to measures for alcoholism, with our “‘Am I an Alcoholic?’ Quiz.” It can help you see how these signs show up in your life or if your relationship with alcohol needs a closer look.
Behavioral, Physical, and Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcohol use disorder can develop slowly, sneaking up on those who don’t suspect an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Rather than the occasional drink, alcoholics find themselves gripped by withdrawal symptoms, day drinking, and binges.
Take a look at these symptoms of alcoholism that show the behavioral, mental, and physical signs of AUD. See if you might have an alcohol use disorder or if someone you know could need treatment.
Behavioral Symptoms of AUD
- Drinking by yourself
- Neglecting hygiene
- Being defensive about drinking
- Tolerating high amounts of alcohol intake
- Putting off work or school for drinking
- Having poor eating habits
- Finding excuses to drink
- Reducing non-drinking activities
- Losing control of drinking patterns
- Drinking despite work, social, and legal issues
Physical Symptoms of AUD
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal (nausea, shaking, vomiting, etc.)
- Having cravings for alcohol
- Losing memory after drinking or blacking out
- Feeling tremors and shaking after drinking
- Developing disease or illness (cirrhosis, alcohol ketoacidosis, etc.)
Withdrawal Symptoms of AUD
- Anxiety and insomnia
- Shakiness and nausea
- Vomiting and headaches
- Racing heartbeat and heavy sweating
- High blood pressure and fever
- Seizures and hallucinations
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism
In the short term, alcohol use disorder causes severe consequences for individuals, family members, and their community. The fact is alcoholism brings serious risks to your health, wellness, and even the lives of others nearest you:
- Accidents and injuries (car crashes, drownings, burns, falls, etc.)
- Violence and domestic assault
- Alcohol poisoning
- Miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal alcohol disorders
- Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease
Excessive alcohol use causes long-term effects that hurt every bodily organ and function. If they don’t stop drinking, they face a higher risk of complications from too much alcohol consumption and mental health issues:
- Cancers of the liver, throat, colon, breast, esophagus, and mouth
- Liver failure, poisonous alcohol intoxication, and physical compulsions
- High blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and stroke
- Weakened immune system, opening the body to illness and infection
- Persistent problems at work, home, and within personal relationships
- Mental health disorders with anxiety, depression, and mood
- Declining performance with memory, learning, and school
The enormous problems that alcoholism and alcohol use disorder cause for millions of people in the US is staggering. Understanding whether or not you could endure some of these risks begins by taking the “Am I an Alcoholic?” quiz.
You’ll learn about the many signs that show alcohol use disorder according to real health measures. Then, explore the different kinds of alcoholism recognized in addiction treatment approaches below.
Alcohol Use Disorder Categories: The 5 Kinds of Alcoholism
Treatment specialists and addiction professionals group people’s experiences of alcoholism into groups to make treatment more personal and practical. After you answer the alcoholic survey, see how these different experiences might resonate with your relationship with drinking.
Young Adult Subtype Alcoholism
Young adult alcoholics make up 30% of all those addicted to alcohol in the US. These drinkers consume alcohol less frequently and can come from families that don’t necessarily have a history of alcoholism. But, they tend to engage in binge drinking with disastrous effects.
Young Antisocial Alcoholism
Young drinkers with AUD sometimes have a co-occurring diagnosis, such as antisocial personality disorder. They show impulsiveness, deceitfulness, and lack of responsibility when it comes to drinking and beyond. Overall, their drinking and lifestyle show little regard for legal, safety, or other consequences.
Functional alcoholism defies the usual stereotypes of the alcoholic in society. Many are in denial about their drinking, come from solid families, and hold good jobs with a level of success. Nevertheless, 20% of people with AUD in the US are functional alcoholics.
Immediate Family Alcoholism
Many people come from families with generational alcoholism. While they typically hold down decent jobs, they also experience crushing depression in many instances. They struggle to cope with their persistent sense of despair on a regular basis by turning to heavy alcohol use night after night, time after time.
Chronic Severe Alcoholism
The chronic and severe alcoholic is the rarest. They began drinking at a young age and have dependencies or addictions to other substances. Usually, they also endure psychiatric or mental health disorders that make treatment particularly necessary. Seventy-five percent of them have a family history with alcohol as well.
Get Treatment for Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorder
The best treatment for alcoholism is designed for you at a caring treatment facility. Through personal therapy, family therapy, and medical treatment from a doctor, you can overcome alcohol. There is hope. It’s a good idea to look at the reasons you drink and your treatment options from healthcare professionals right now.
Indiana Center for Recovery offers all the evidence-based options and environmental factors you’ll need to make a full recovery. Depending on your dependency level, alcoholism treatment involves detox courses, residential stays, outpatient programs, and group or individual counseling. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous, self-help groups, and various medications for mental and physical health can put you at low risk for alcohol abuse and drop your amount of alcohol consumption by changing your thinking and drinking patterns.
Use your knowledge from screening tests like the AUDIT quiz. If recommended, contact a personalized treatment provider or outpatient treatment program for the level of alcohol use disorder you may have. Improve your quality of life, give yourself freedom from alcohol, and heal from the trauma of addiction through a treatment center made to fit your needs. Contact Indiana Center for Recovery at (844) 650-0064 to discover your next step in the recovery journey.