How to Tell If You Have a Drinking Problem

man drinking liquor straight from the bottle
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The short answer is if you have to ask whether or not you have a drinking problem, chances are that you do. And if others in your life have told you that you have a problem, you probably do. If you have continued to drink in spite of negative consequences, that could be an indication of a serious problem.

Most people who experience problems with drinking, simply quit. They have one particularly painful or embarrassing drinking incident, wake up the next morning and tell themselves, "Never again!" and that's it. They stop drinking; just like that, no problem.

If you have done the same thing — told yourself you would never get that drunk again, or even drink again — but found yourself a few days later doing exactly what you swore to yourself you would never do, chances are your drinking falls into the category of alcohol abuse, at the very least, and alcohol dependence at worse.

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse is described as any "harmful use" of alcohol and that by definition is a "drinking problem." Whether or not you have become alcohol dependent is another question and whether or not you come to believe that you are an alcoholic, is yet another question.

If you think that you have a drinking problem, you should seek a full evaluation by a healthcare professional. There are many diagnostics tests available online that can help you self-evaluate your drinking, but none of them should substitute for professional medical advice.

Online Tests

Here are some of the tests that are available online:

  • Alcohol Abuse Enabling QuizAre you enabling an alcoholic in your life? This quiz can help you find out. The 10 question test is completely confidential and anonymous; your results are not recorded and are available only to you. 
  • AA's 12 QuestionsThis yes-or-no 12-question test is used to determine if A.A. might be helpful to you, but it can also be used to help you determine if you are in "deep trouble" with your drinking.
  • CAGE QuestionnaireDeveloped by the American Psychiatric Association, this four-question test is usually used by healthcare professionals to quickly determine if the need for further evaluation of a patient's alcohol use is indicated.
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms QuizAre you experiencing withdrawal from alcohol? If you're not sure, this quiz is for you.
  • Short Alcohol TestsThere are many other short alcohol screening tests that have been designed to quickly screen for drinking problems, including the MAST, the AUDIT, the FAST and others.

If you have decided that you do have a drinking problem and you want to do something about it there is a world of help available, but the first step should be to contact your healthcare provider and be totally honest about your use of alcohol. Quitting alcohol suddenly can result in alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening.

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