Alcoholism

An alcoholic is a person who suffers from alcoholism – the body is dependent on alcohol. An alcoholic is addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is a chronic (long-term) disease. People who suffer from alcoholism are obsessed with alcohol and cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work and financially.

Alcohol abuse generally refers to people who do not display the characteristics of alcoholism but still have a problem with it – these people are not as dependent on alcohol as an alcoholic is. What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

The signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse are very similar, and are often just a question of degree or intensity.

Typically, the last person to be aware that he/she has a serious drinking problem is the alcoholic himself/herself – they are in denial. Some signs and symptoms of alcoholism as well as alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking in secret
  • Not being able to limit how much alcohol is consumed.
  • Blacking out – not being able to remember chunks of time.
  • Having rituals and being irritated/annoyed when these rituals are disturbed or commented on. This could be drinks before/during/after meals, or after work.
  • Dropping hobbies and activities the person used to enjoy; losing interest in them.
  • Feeling an urge to drink
  • Feeling irritable when drinking times approach; This feeling is more intense if the alcohol is not available, or there appears to be a chance it may not be available.
  • Having stashes of alcohol in unlikely places
  • Gulping drinks down in order to get drunk and then feel good.
  • Having relationship problems (triggered by drinking)
  • Having problems with the law (caused by drinking).
  • Having work problems (caused by drinking, or drinking as root cause)
  • Having money problems (caused by drinking)
  • Requiring a larger quantity of alcohol to feel its effect
  • Nausea, sweating, or even shaking when not drinking

A person who abuses alcohol may have many of these signs and symptoms – but they do not have the withdrawal symptoms like an alcoholic does, nor the same degree of compulsion to drink.

The problems linked to alcohol dependence are extensive, and affect the person physically, psychologically and socially. Drinking becomes a compulsion for a person with a drink problem – it takes precedence over all other activities. It can remain undetected for several years.

As an alcoholic, I fully grasp the thought process of eliminating those questions and choices that I don’t like. This allows me to believe that I am not an alcoholic and may continue to drink as I choose.

Consequently, as you proceed, you will see that I have chosen to include three similar but different question formats. Yes, they do overlap, but that is intentional in that my sole purpose for doing this is to help you get honest, get help and get sober. I don’t care if you don’t like me. I care if you don’t like you.

1. How many drinks does it take to make you feel high?

2. Have close friends or relatives worried or complained about your drinking in the past year?

3. Do you sometimes take a drink in the morning when you first get up?

4. Has a friend or family member ever told you about things you said or did while you were drinking that you could not remember?

5. Do you sometimes feel the need to cut down on your drinking?

CAGE

C – Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?

A- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

G – Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?

EEye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was developed by the World Health Organization as a simple way to screen and identify people who are at risk of developing alcohol problems.

The AUDIT test focuses on identifying the preliminary signs of hazardous drinking and mild dependence. It is used to detect alcohol problems experienced within the last year. It is one of the most accurate alcohol screening tests available, rated 92 percent effective in detecting hazardous or harmful drinking.

Unlike some alcohol screening tests, the AUDIT has proven to be accurate across all ethnic and gender groups.

The test contains 10 multiple choice questions on quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems or reactions. The answers are scored on a point system; a score of more than eight indicates an alcohol problem.

Take the AUDIT Test

Points associated with each answer are listed below. Keep track of your points as you take this assessment.

1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

(0) Never (Skip to Questions 9-10)
(1) Monthly or less
(2) 2 to 4 times a month
(3) 2 to 3 times a week
(4) 4 or more times a week

2. How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?

(0) 1 or 2
(1) 3 or 4
(2) 5 or 6
(3) 7, 8, or 9
(4) 10 or more

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

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

4. How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

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

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

6. How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

7. How often during the last year have you needed an alcoholic drink first thing in the morning to get yourself going after a night of heavy drinking?

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

8. How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

(0) Never
(1) Less than monthly
(2) Monthly
(3) Weekly
(4) Daily or almost daily

9. Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?

(0) No
(2) Yes, but not in the last year
(4) Yes, during the last year

10. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or another health professional expressed concern about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

(0) No
(2) Yes, but not in the last year
(4) Yes, during the last year

Add up the points associated with your answers above. A total score of 8 or more indicates harmful drinking behavior. Call for help today!!

Well now, the questions have been answered and you are sitting there wondering, what do I do now? I know I have a more serious problem than I was willing to admit, but the evidence is clear to me. That was me in October, 1988. What to do next! I had arrived at the last house on the block and regardless of which way I turned, I had run out of choices.

You may be where I was or you may yet not have reached that point. Whether you have or you have not does not matter. What matters is that you can choose to get help right now. End the inner hell and find a pathway to peace within yourself.

On the home page of this website, you will see a place encouraging you to click and start your journey to health, wellness and sober living. All you have to do is “CLICK” that box and follow the simple directions. You can do this! Act now and “CLICK”.

Alcoholism is an obsession of the mind that condemns one to drink and an allergy of the body that condemns one to die. – Dr. William D. Silkworth

Comments are closed.