Since alcohol is everywhere, and many people who are not classified as addicts or alcoholics are able to drink without consequences, often times people find themselves asking the question “am I an alcoholic?”
The truth is, no one but you can truly answer that question, but there are clinical assessments that can help.
The lines are blurry between alcoholics, alcohol abusers and people on the brink of having these problems. An alcoholic may not show the same symptoms as other drinkers, or a “normal” social drinker may share in characteristics of an alcohol abuser — that’s why some people want diagnosis on a spectrum — to account for all the gray areas we see in real live people.
Staff at Harvard Medical School have been developing a book series that talks about almost alcoholics. “There is a tremendous number of people who have alcohol problems and almost all have gone through the gray area of the scale,” said Dr. Robert Doyle, a co-author and clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “So almost everyone who’s at the far end had some experience in the ‘almost’ range, and if we can bring some awareness to that, we might be able to help them make some health lifestyle changes.”
Some physicians agree that being able to define someone as an almost alcoholic would be beneficial for early intervention. “It’s about describing symptoms that aren’t normal, that are well documented, and explaining those symptoms to people so they can better deal with them and have better health now and in the future,” Dr. Julie Silver, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School said. “It is good for people and their friends/relatives to recognize the signs and symptoms or alcohol abuse and addiction, so that they may be able to influence someone before they get into trouble,” said Dr. Robert Gwyther, professor in the department of family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
There are three different levels of alcohol use disorder, the clinical term for having the disease of alcoholism. People are ranked as either mild, moderate, or severe. Many times, when you call into a treatment center, the admissions department will ask you a series of questions to determine whether or not you meet their criteria to enter into treatment for alcoholism.
These questions are derived from the self-assessment quiz and are based on the 11 symptoms listed under alcohol abuse disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).”
If you answered yes to two or three of these questions, you would be diagnosed as a mild alcoholic.
If you answered yes to four or five of these questions, you would be diagnosed as a moderate alcoholic.
If you answered yes to six or more of these questions, you fall under the severe alcoholic category.
Regardless, if you find yourself asking the question “am I an alcoholic,” you should reach out for help and gather more information. Normally, a person comes to this question because they are facing consequences as a result of their drinking. These consequences can range from relationship problems to legal trouble.
Give our expert team at Addicted Minds a call for a free clinical assessment to determine if we can help you by connecting you with top rated mental health professionals in your area, or a treatment center that you can greatly benefit from.