Are you addicted to alcohol? If you’re asking that question, or if a friend or family member is asking that question, there may be a cause for concern. But how do you really know? Talking with your doctor can help you determine whether you have a drinking problem and whether you need to seek treatment. Treatment can help you end the cycle of addiction and live a healthier life.

First, you need to understand what sort of questions you need to ask yourself.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Determine If You Have a Drinking Problem

The first questionnaire your doctor may give you is known as the CAGE questionnaire. It asks the following questions:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

If you can honestly answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may have a drinking problem. Your doctor can then give you another type of test that may determine the scope of your drinking problem.

The T-ACE Questionnaire

The T-ACE questionnaire is based on the CAGE questionnaire and may be used to determine the risk you may have if you are a woman who drinks during pregnancy. The questions are:

  • Tolerance: How many drinks does it take to make you feel high?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt you ought to cut down on your drinking?
  • Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test or AUDIT

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test or AUDIT is a type of test that asks about the frequency and quantity of pure use of alcohol. It identifies alcohol-related problems and dependence symptoms. It can also identify whether you binge drink. The AUDIT test identifies someone who has a problem with alcohol, but is not necessarily addict yet. It works best on younger adults, minorities, and women, but may not be suitable for older patients. It is a short test with only 10 questions.

The AUDIT Questions:

  • How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
  • How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?
  • How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
  • How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?
  • How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?
  • How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
  • How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
  • Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?
  • Has a relative or friend, or a doctor or other health worker, been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

Your doctor may administer this questionnaire or other questionnaires to determine your risk factors and the extent of your drinking. After that, he may recommend treatment options to help you manage problematic drinking or an addiction to alcohol.

Source:

  1. Alcohol Alert: SCREENING FOR ALCOHOL USE AND ALCOHOL RELATED PROBLEMS. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 4/2005, http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa65/AA65.htm

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