Am I An Alcoholic ?
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Many imagine an alcoholic as the raggedy homeless person under the bridge walking around with a brown bag in hand. They ask themselves, “am I an alcoholic?” “Do I need alcohol treatment?” This stereotype also misleads many people to believe they don’t suffer from alcoholism and are instead “casual drinkers,” or just normal college students “partying.”
So how do you know if you need to go to alcohol treatment?
For those who don’t suffer from Alcoholism, there is nothing wrong with a few drinks with friends, some wine with dinner, or bubbly at a celebration. Let’s look at a few terms that might clarify things for us when talking about symptoms of alcohol abuse:
Alcohol abuse: a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequence
Alcoholism: an alcohol dependence or addiction, where the individual suffering has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol
Heavy Drinking: For men under the age of 65, this means having four drinks a day or more than 14 drinks in a week. For men over the age of 65, this is more than three drinks a day or more than seven drinks in a week. For women, it is no more than 3 drinks a day and no more than 7 drinks per week.
Binge Drinking: drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time, for men; five or more drinks in two hours and for women; four or more drinks in two hours.
- Have you found yourself isolating when drinking?
- Have you experienced memory loss as a result of your drinking?
- Do you experience guilt because of your drinking habits?
- Have friends or family talked to you about your drinking habits negatively impacting yours or their lives?
- Are you facing legal problems due to your drinking or substance abuse?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might already have the answer to your question: “Do I have a drinking problem?.”
You also may want to ask yourself if you experience any of the following:
- Self-destructive actions
- Impulsive behavior and decisions
- Blackouts/Memory Loss
Your alcoholism does not have to be left untreated. You have options now to go to a drug and alcohol treatment center. Alcohol rehab can be very useful to kick-start your journey to achieving long-term sobriety.
There are several tools and questionnaires a drug and alcohol rehab can use to determine if you are an alcoholic in need of alcohol treatment.
One of these tools is the CAGE questionnaire.
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?
Scoring for CAGE
Each response to the four alcohol assessment questions is scored, either 0 or 1 point. Responses determine the percentage of the probability of alcoholism, ranging to 95 percent. Higher scores indicate a potential problem with alcohol. While a total score of 2 or higher is considered clinically significant, some clinicians, such as John Hopkins, believe a score of 1 is worth a further evaluation.
Another such assessment is the MAST Alcohol Assessment.
MAST Alcohol Assessment
- Do you feel are a normal drinker?
- Have you ever awakened the morning after some drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?
- Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?
- Can you stop drinking without difficulty after one or two drinks?
- Do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
- Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?
- Has drinking ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend?
- Has any family member or close friend went to anyone for help about your drinking?
- Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?
- Have you ever gotten into trouble at work because of drinking?
- Have you ever lost a job because of drinking?
- Have you ever neglected your obligations, your family, or your work for two or more days in a row because you were drinking?
- Do you drink before noon fairly often?
- Have you ever been told you have liver trouble such as cirrhosis?
- After heavy drinking have you ever had delirium tremens (D.T.’s)
- Have you ever gone to anyone for help with your drinking?
- Have you ever been hospitalized because of drinking?
- Has your drinking ever resulted in your being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward?
- Have you ever gone to any doctor, social worker, clergyman or mental health clinic for help with any emotional problem in which drinking was part of the problem?
- Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol?
- Have you ever been arrested, even for a few hours, because of other behavior while drinking?
Scoring for MAST
Questions 1-4, answering “no” is one point. For every other question, answering “yes” is one point.
Scores of 0-2 indicate no apparent drinking problem. Scores of 3-5 designate a potential drinking problem. Scores of 6 or higher point to a high probability of alcohol abuse. Keep in mind that the results of the MAST alcohol screening test — or any alcohol quiz — are not intended as an official diagnosis.
These assessments are mainly to give yourself an idea or some basic answers to questions like, do I meet the requirements for symptoms of alcoholism? If you feel like you or a loved one might have a problem with alcohol or drugs, please reach out to GateHouse Treatment at 855-448-3588.
Our admissions specialists are standing by 24 hours a day to help you.