Or as some might ask the question, “How do I know if I have a drinking problem?”
You may be surprised to learn there isn’t one universal definition of what is considered an alcoholic. Most of the definitions revolve around being someone who is not in control of their drinking - who continues to drink even though it is doing them obvious harm.
For reasons we share in depth in the Drinker’s Helper skill library (download the app today!), we do not subscribe to the idea that some people are alcoholics and some aren’t - that there are some people who just will never become addicted to alcohol because of their genetic makeup. It’s a very addictive drug. It works on pretty much everyone. But that’s beside the point.
While there’s no one universal ‘am I an alcoholic quiz,’ there are a variety of tests out there that can help you decide if you want to change your drinking.
You can ask yourself these 11 questions to get a sense of whether you might have alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. These diagnostic questions from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are intended for use by a doctor and come with instructions for what a doctor would say to a patient who responded in certain ways.
The WHO (World Health Organization) created the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test ). This 10-question test is probably the most widely used screening test. It can be taken online right here.
The alcohol dependence scale is another widely used, valid, reliable test.
Finally, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) is the standard from the American Psychiatric Association for diagnosing alcohol abuse disorder. This article in Psychology Today takes you through the steps and tells you how to score the test.
If you’re wondering if you might have a problematic dependence on alcohol, take one or all of the above and consult your doctor! If you want help to deal with quitting or cutting back, look no further than the Drinker’s Helper app, available on the app store.