It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.
•J. Gordon, MD
Alcohol and drug use can progress into abuse and even addiction so quickly that sometimes people do not realize that it has become a problem for them and those around them. For those drinkers who may be trying to determine if their drinking has reached the level of alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, there are some common-sense questions that might provide the answers. Simply put, if you have to ask, you probably have a problem. “Normal” drinkers don’t wonder if their drinking is a problem. They don’t even think about it. If you have tried to quit drinking – swore to yourself that you would never drink again – and found yourself a few days or a week later drinking again, you probably have a problem. If you have tried to quit and cannot do so, you are no longer in control; alcohol is in control of your life. There are many diagnostic quizzes or tools you can use to assess your drinking. The CAGE Test One of the oldest and most popular screening tools for alcohol abuse is the CAGE test, which is a short, four-question test that diagnoses alcohol problems over a lifetime. C– Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? A- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? G – Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking? E – Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover? Whatever test you take, the important thing to pay attention to is the degree to which you experience the seven major symptoms of alcohol dependence the drinker is experiencing. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, the symptoms of alcohol dependence include: Neglect of Other Activities: The drinker’s alcohol use reduces or eliminates important social, work-related or recreational activities. Excessive Use: The drinker begins to consume larger amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time than intended. Impaired Control: The drinker makes repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control how much he/she drinks. Persistence of Use: The drinker continues to consume alcohol despite knowing that his/her drinking is causing or contributing to a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem. Large Amounts of Time Spent in Alcohol Related Activities: The drinker spends an abnormal amount of time on activities involved with obtaining, using and/or recovering from the effects of alcohol. Withdrawal: When the drinker stops drinking for a short period of time, he/she experiences symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shaking or anxiety. Tolerance: The drinker needs increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the same level of intoxication. If your drinking is negatively impacting your life in some or all of these areas, you may want to learn more about alcoholism and consider options for how to stop drinking. Please Feel Free To Reply To This Post All comments must be approved by an Insight Support Group moderator. Once you submit your comment, it can take up to 24 hours before your post will be approved. Confidentiality If you are a member of one of our support programs and you reply to this post while logged in as a member, your confidentiality will be maintained. Your name will not be associated with your reply. Instead you will be identified as “Anonymous.” If you are...read more