Am I an Alcoholic QuizCamila Archuleta
Excessive Alcohol Use is Harmful to Your Health
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, approximately 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually in the United States. About 14 million American adults over 18 years are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) every year, based on data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
If you’ve found yourself drinking excessively, you may ask yourself, “am I an alcoholic?” Let’s delve further into these and other questions about alcoholism and alcohol use disorder, and use our “Am I an alcoholic quiz” to find more answers now!
Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorders
Although alcoholism and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are often used interchangeably, these terms refer to two distinct illnesses related to alcohol intake. Alcoholism is a condition where someone is so reliant on drinking that they experience severe difficulties with their physical or mental health. However, alcoholism is not a diagnostic term. Medical practitioners prefer to use the terms alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder.
The American Psychiatric Association recognizes AUD as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (DSM-5). Alcohol use disorders can range from mild to moderate to severe, depending on their severity.
The DSM-5 uses a checklist of 11 signs to diagnose this condition. The presence and severity of alcohol use disorder can be gauged by calculating the number of times these symptoms have occurred over the past year.
Excessive drinking is often broken down into two categories: heavy and binge drinking.
Heavy Drinking vs Binge Drinking
Heavy drinking describes a pattern of weekly drinking that exceeds the recommended guidelines. Heavy drinking is consuming two alcoholic drinks daily or more than fourteen drinks per week for men under 65 years old. For men under 65 and women, heavy drinking is having more than one drink daily or consuming more than seven drinks in one week.
Conversely, binge drinking is consuming too much alcohol within a single session. This translated to drinking five or more drinks in less than two hours for men and consuming more than three drinks within two hours.
Most people who regularly engage in heavy or binge drinking may have an alcohol use disorder. The distinction between heavy drinkers and alcoholics can be seen in how people react when they cut down or quit drinking. Stopping heavy drinking will likely improve the quality of life for those who regularly indulge in it. Most people who reduce their alcohol use or leave drinking report improved health, vitality, and sleep quality due to cutting back.
However, if you have an alcohol use disorder, it can be challenging to cut down or quit drinking. People with AUD are likely to relapse and slip back into alcohol addiction even if they stop for a while after realizing it is a dangerous habit.
A person with alcohol use disorder has formed a solid psychological dependence on alcohol, which makes abstaining from drinking a daily struggle. Their emotional, mental, and even bodily well-being depends on it.
Early Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction and Dependence
There is a pervasive cultural pressure to drink, and it can be hard to tell if your drinking habits are problematic among all the messages we receive about the benefits of alcohol. If you’ve ever wondered, “am I becoming an alcoholic?” here are some red flags you can watch out for.
- Intense desire to drink
- Covering up your drinking habits
- Losing interest in activities you once loved
- Mood swings and irritation
- Withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking
- Neglecting one’s duties in favor of drinking
- Drinking alcohol first thing in the morning
- Lack of control over how much you drink and when to stop drinking
- Drinking, despite the severe personal, financial, and health consequences
Seek assistance to determine if you are suffering from alcohol use disorder if you experienced any of these warning signs. People with AUD may display varying symptoms depending on the severity of the condition and personal health or genetics.
To help you determine where you are on a spectrum from a healthy relationship with alcohol to a harmful connection with alcohol, an “am I an alcoholic quiz” will ask you some relevant questions.
What are the Potential Effects of Developing an AUD?
Alcohol use disorders are associated with various short and long-term health consequences.
Some of the short-term risks of alcohol use disorder include:
- Personal injuries from falls, vehicle accidents, or burns
- Increased risk of violence
- Alcohol poisoning
- Pregnancy-related issues like miscarriages in pregnant women
- Risky sexual that increases the risk of contracting an STD
Although you may have avoided immediate peril by making it through the night, that doesn’t imply you’re safe from the short-term effects above.
Here are some of the top long-term risks of alcoholism:
- Various types of cancers
- Cardiovascular diseases
- High blood pressure and stroke
- Liver disease
- Gastrointestinal issues
- A compromised immune system
- Social problems like family issues, joblessness, and decreased output
- Mental health issues such as depressive and anxiety disorders
- Problems with memory and learning
Prolonged heavy drinking increases one’s risk of developing significant and chronic health issues, some of which may be chronic. If you want to know if you’re at risk for any of these consequences, figuring out if your drinking is under control is an excellent place to start.
What Are the Signs of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse?
Developing an AUD often happens gradually. Because of this, your formerly moderate and problem-free drinking habits may suddenly become more regular and damaging.
Learning crucial insights about alcoholism can help you understand whether you have an AUD. Alcohol use disorder can cause a variety of mental health and physical health symptoms. The following are some of the behavioral symptoms of AUD:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Drinking when isolated
- Becoming defensive about your drinking habits
- Increased tolerance
- Not eating at all or eating poorly
- Looking for justification to drink
- Missing work because you were drunk
- Foregoing work duties
- Lack of self-control
Physical consequences of alcoholism include:
Suffering from withdrawal signs like nausea, vomiting, and trembling when you cut back on your alcohol consumption.
- Alcohol cravings
- Inability to remember things the morning after a heavy drinking session
- After drinking, you wake up with tremors
- Experiencing health problems like alcoholic ketoacidosis and cirrhosis
Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse might help you determine if you have a problem with booze.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
If your body has developed a dependency on alcohol, you may go through withdrawal when you try to cut back or quit. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause various symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The length and quantity of your alcohol consumption, among other things, can significantly impact the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Six hours after your last drink, you may experience some moderate withdrawal symptoms, like stomach upset, nervousness, headache, trembling hands, restlessness, vomiting, and bloating.
Seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens are among the more severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Severe AUD may also cause elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating, a rapid heart rate, and a high temperature.
What Are the Various Subtypes of Alcoholics?
Although every alcoholic is distinctive, there are nonetheless five distinct types. Let’s take a closer look at each category to grasp better the wide range of characteristics that people with alcohol consumption disorder might exhibit.
The young adult demographic accounts for 31% of the total alcohol-dependent population in the United States. They may not drink as regularly as some of the others demographics, but when they do, they drink heavily. People in this group tend to come from households where alcoholism is not prevalent.
Young Antisocial Alcoholics
More than half of this group has been diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder. At least three of the following behavioral characteristics are required for a diagnosis of this disorder:
- Criminal activity
- Lack of regard for the safety of others
- Violent acts
Disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, and substance abuse are common in this population subset.
Because they don’t fit so many of the common assumptions of alcoholics, functioning alcoholics are among the most challenging to identify. Because of this, some people may refuse to acknowledge they have a substance abuse problem. People that fit this description usually have established careers, happy families, and other markers of success.
Intermediate Family Alcoholics
About half of this group of alcoholics comes from families where alcoholism has affected multiple generations. Everyone in this category has struggled with clinical depression at some point.
Chronic Severe Alcoholics
Last but not least, the percentage of Americans who are chronically severe alcoholics is among the lowest of any subgroup of alcoholics. They are in their mid-forties and start drinking at an early age. These people have the highest rates of substance abuse and psychiatric illnesses. Most of these people come from drinking families.
Test Yourself: The “Am I an Alcoholic” Quiz
Answer the questions below to determine if you suffer from an AUD
1. Have there been instances in the previous year when you drank more than you wanted to or for longer lengths of time?
2. Have you wished to or tried to reduce your alcohol use several times in the previous year but were unsuccessful?
3. Have you spent much time in the previous year drinking, attempting to get alcohol, and recovering from its effects?
a) Completely Agree
b) I disagree strongly with this.
4. Have you had severe alcohol cravings in the past year?
5. Has your drinking habit caused problems in your personal life, at home or the office, in the past year?
6. Have you persisted in your drinking this past year despite its adverse effects on your personal life or your professional performance?
7. Have you given up any hobbies or interests during the past year to focus on drinking instead?
8. Have you, in the previous year, gotten into situations where alcohol consumption increased the likelihood that you would be physically harmed?
9. Have you persisted with alcohol use despite its adverse effects on your mental and physical health throughout the past year?
10. Have you developed a tolerance to alcohol during the past year, meaning that you need to drink more of it than you used to before you experience its effects?
11. Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, difficulty sleeping, a racing heart, sweating, restlessness, or shaking while you weren’t under alcohol?
If you answered yes, maybe, or somewhat to more than (5) of the questions in this alcohol disorders identification test, then you have an alcohol drinking problem or AUD.
AUD Treatment Options
Treatment at an alcohol rehab must be tailored to the specific requirements of each client. You or a loved one may benefit from individual or group therapy, an intensive outpatient program, a short-term intervention, or a residential stay in a treatment facility.
However, regardless of the specifics of the treatment plan, the overarching objective is always the same: to reduce or stop alcohol consumption and improve the client’s quality of life. Medically supervised detoxification is sometimes the first step of treatment, and this is usually done while the client is an inpatient at a hospital or similar facility. Your treatment plan may also include psychotherapy. A better grasp of your relationship with alcohol can aid your recovery.
Setting personal recovery targets is often an integral part of treatment regimens. You could get counseling, follow-up care, and learn how to employ self-help guides and behavior-change approaches.
Medication, spiritual therapy, and aftercare programs are all potential components of a holistic treatment plan. Therapy for emotional issues and medical care for physical ailments are other possibilities.
Should You Seek AUD Treatment?
It might be difficult to tell if someone has an alcohol use problem due to the widespread availability of booze and the cultural acceptance of binge drinking in specific settings. You should be better able to answer the question “am I an alcoholic?” after reading up on alcoholism and alcohol use disorder.
Seek Professional Help for Alcohol at Icarus Behavioral Health
The qualified doctors and staff at Icarus Behavioral Health are here to assist you. When you enter one of our rehabs, we’ll use the best addiction treatment methods and innovative recovery strategies to get you clean and sober.
Do you or a loved one need help with alcoholism? To find out more about our facility or to schedule a visit, please call us at now for a confidential consult!