Do you drink frequently or in large quantities? Have other people tried to suggest that you have a problem, but you’re certain you have it under control? While it’s true that one can drink heavily on rare occasions without developing a dependence, many people are convinced that they’re simply casual drinkers and refuse to see the warning signs of addiction.
Most people drink casually, whether it’s a glass of wine with dinner or a nightcap before bed. The problems arise when someone moves past casual to heavy drinking and continues to drink excessively despite the negative repercussions. For men under the age of 65, heavy drinking means having four drinks a day or more than 14 drinks in a week. For women and men over age 65, heavy drinking is more than three drinks a day or more than seven drinks in a week. Heavy drinking differs from binge drinking, which is drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time. For men, it’s defined as five or more drinks within two hours. For women, it’s four or more drinks in that same time frame. Either of these can lead, over time, to an alcohol use disorder.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you have a drinking problem, it might be time to ask yourself some questions. The World Health Organization created a multiple choice quiz called AUDIT, or the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, to assess a person’s alcohol-related problems. It consists of the following 10 questions:
1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
2. How many standard drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when drinking?
3. How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
4. During the past year, how often have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?
5. During the past year, how often have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of drinking?
6. During the past year, how often have you needed a drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
7. During the past year, how often have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
8. During the past year, have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
9. Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
10. Has a relative or friend, doctor or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?
The larger the number is in your answers, along with the number of times you say yes, determine your score. The higher the score, the more likely it is that you have alcohol dependence.
If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.