Question #1: Do you often use alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period than you intended?
If you struggle to control your alcohol intake there is a good chance you have been struggling with some degree of alcohol use disorder. People who are afflicted with alcoholism often tell themselves they’ll stop after two drinks, or only stay at the bar until 10 p.m. and then head home. However, they have an especially difficult time keeping within these parameters.
Question #2: Have you wanted to cut back on alcohol or made unsuccessful attempts to do so?
If you have already started to experience personal consequences as a direct result of your drinking habits, you might have attempted to cut back or quit entirely. Most people who struggle with alcohol dependence are unable to quit without professional help.
Question #3: Do you spend a great deal of time finding, using or recovering from using?
Maybe your hangovers have started to get more severe, and you frequently skip out on your personal obligations because you’re recovering from the night before. Maybe you are preoccupied with taking your next drink, and you spend a good portion of the day thinking about alcohol. Preoccupation with drinking is a good indication of an alcohol use disorder.
Question #4: Do you have strong urges or powerful cravings to use alcohol?
People who struggle with alcohol dependence experience overwhelming cravings. You might not be aware of a craving when one comes on — suddenly you just really want to drink, and rather than consider why you simply reach for the bottle.
Question #5: Has your use of alcohol resulted in your inability to meet your obligations at work, home, or school?
If you are too hungover to perform at work or at school, or if you attempt to take care of your responsibilities while intoxicated, you likely require some degree of treatment. People who struggle with alcoholism often have a difficult time balancing their drinking career and their pre-existing obligations.
Question #6: Have you had to cut back on or abandon social, professional, or recreational activities due to your use of alcohol?
If you have been prioritizing alcohol, you have probably had to limit other activities. Maybe you spend less time with your friends or family, take on fewer assignments at work or at school, or quit hobbies you used to hold in high esteem.
Question #7: Have you repeatedly used alcohol when it was hazardous to do so, such as while driving a car?
People who struggle with alcohol dependence often engage in a variety of risk-taking behaviors. Maybe you drive while intoxicated or combine alcohol with other chemical substances like opioids or benzodiazepines.
Question #8: Have you experienced social or relationship problems due to your alcohol use and kept using anyway?
People who struggle with alcoholism often experience strained interpersonal relationships. Maybe you have pushed your loved ones away so you can continue to drink in peace. Maybe you keep getting into fights with your partner or spouse over your drinking habits. This is a good indication of an alcohol use disorder.
Question #9: Have you kept using alcohol knowing that it has caused or worsened physical or mental health issues?
If a medical or psychiatric professional has recommended you cut back on your alcohol intake but you continue to drink heavily, it might be due to a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.
Question #10: When you attempt to cut back on or stop your use of alcohol, have you experienced uncomfortable physical or mental health symptoms (withdrawal)?
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary on a person-to-person basis and depend on the severity of the alcohol use disorder. Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include stomach cramping, nausea and vomiting, body tremors, severe anxiety, sleeplessness, persistent headaches, profuse sweating and general feelings of physical discomfort.
Question #11: Have you needed more alcohol to feel the effects you’re seeking (tolerance)?
Tolerance is a telltale sign of alcohol dependence. When you develop a physical tolerance it means your body is adjusting to the presence of alcohol, and you have to consume a larger quantity in order to feel the desired effects. People who develop a tolerance also experience symptoms of withdrawal when they quit drinking suddenly.