For more help call today 855-396-2924

If I Think I’m an Alcoholic, Does It Mean I Am?

Alcohol abuse has become an increasingly dangerous and widespread issue nationwide. The Wall Street Journal reported that, as of 2008, alcoholism is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. behind smoking and obesity.

While many renowned research facilities and organizations that focus on alcoholism have attempted to develop assessments to help people understand their alcohol use and potential for addiction, one trusted source for defining alcoholism is the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM-IV. This manual helps by providing a specific set of indicators for alcohol abuse and dependence.

Alcohol Abuse Indicators

According to the DSM-IV, a person may be considered to have an alcohol abuse problem if he has engaged in certain activities in the past year, including the following:

  • Drinking alcohol in hazardous situations, such as while driving
  • Continuing to drink despite social or interpersonal problems
  • Experiencing legal problems related to alcohol
  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to alcohol use

Alcohol Dependence Indicators

The DSM-IV also defines a person as being alcohol dependent if he has engaged in a number of alcohol-related activities in the past year, including the following:

  • Drinking larger quantities or for longer periods than intended
  • Being unable to decrease or stop alcohol use
  • Requiring a larger quantity of alcohol to achieve the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol use is stopped
  • Neglecting other important responsibilities and activities due to alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink despite psychological or physical problems

Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcoholism

Once an alcohol addiction is established, the user may experience a number of withdrawal symptoms if alcohol use is stopped, including the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Conducting a Self-Assessment for Alcohol Addiction

The following questions are often used in assessments to determine if one has a problem with alcohol abuse. If a user answers yes to at least one third of the questions, alcohol treatment professionals would often suggest that he seek help.

  1. Do you miss time from work due to your drinking?
  2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
  3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
  4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
  5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
  6. Have you experienced financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?
  7. Does drinking make you careless regarding your family’s welfare?
  8. Has your ambition decreased since you began drinking?
  9. Do you crave a drink at a specific time every day?
  10. Do you want a drink in the morning?
  11. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  12. Has your efficiency decreased since you began drinking?
  13. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
  14. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
  15. Do you drink alone?
  16. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?
  17. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
  18. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
  19. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution because of drinking?

Finding Help for Alcohol Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about what it means to be an alcoholic. We can also help you find the best alcohol abuse treatment option for your situation. Please call now.