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Alcohol Use And Abuse

Am I Alcoholic?

Last updated on:
04/01/2013

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

This quiz can help you learn more about your use of alcohol and whether you may have an alcohol problem. It is called AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) and was developed by the World Health Organization.

Use the print button on your browser to print the test. Choose one answer for each question, then write the number in parentheses next to your answer on the line to the right of each question.

1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Monthly or less

(2) 2 to 4 times a month

(3) 2 to 3 times a week

(4) 4 or more times a week

 

2. How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?

_____

(0) 1 or 2

(1) 3 or 4

(2) 5 or 6

(3) 7 to 9

(4) 10 or more

 

3. How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

4. How often during the last year have you found that you could not stop drinking once you had started?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

5. How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

6. How often during the last year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

7. How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

8. How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?

_____

(0) Never

(1) Less than monthly

(2) Monthly

(3) Weekly

(4) Daily or almost daily

 

9. Have you or someone else been injured because of your drinking?

_____

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the past year

 

10. Has a relative, friend, doctor, or other health care worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

_____

(0) No

(2) Yes, but not in the last year

(4) Yes, during the past year

 
   
   

Now add up the numbers in all the boxes. Write the total here.

_____

If the total is 8 or more, you may have an alcohol problem. You may want to talk with your doctor or a mental health or alcohol abuse professional to get help.

What Causes Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors. Alcoholism often runs in families. This is partially due to genetic factors. Researchers are currently trying to determine which genes are responsible for making some people more vulnerable to alcoholism.

Although genetics is involved in many cases of alcoholism, children of alcoholic parents do not necessarily become alcoholic. In addition, people with no family history of the disease can develop alcoholism.

Environmental factors also may affect drinking and the development of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. They include:

  • influence of family and friends;
  • cultural attitudes and practices;
  • ease of obtaining alcohol; and
  • stress.

When people become dependent on alcohol their brains change in ways that keep them dependent, such as having cravings for alcohol, withdrawal symptoms, and relapses. These things make the disease worse. Researchers are studying the roles of the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) dopamine, serotonin, and GABA in alcoholism because they are strongly associated with cravings and emotional behavior.

Depression and anxiety disorders also increase people’s risk of developing alcohol problems. People may use alcohol to help deal with symptoms of these disorders. Major depression occurs along with one-third of all cases of alcoholism. However, in some people depression and anxiety can be caused by the alcohol dependence and go away after they withdraw from alcohol.

 
 

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.