What Are the Signs of Alcoholism

Here is a self-test to help you review the role alcohol plays in your life. These questions incorporate many common symptoms of alcoholism. This test is intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism; it is not intended to be used to establish the diagnosis of alcoholism.
  1. Do you ever drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel with someone?
  2. Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink?
  3. Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends said that you did not pass out?
  4. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others won't know about?
  5. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?
  6. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?
  7. Are you in more of a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be?
  8. Has a family member or close friend ever expressed concern or complained about your drinking?
  9. Have you been having more memory 'blackouts' recently?
  10. Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they've had enough?
  11. Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily?
  12. When you're sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking?
  13. Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking?
  14. Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you.made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking?
  15. Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?
  16. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?
  17. Are you having more financial, work, school and/or family problems as a result of your drinking?
  18. Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?
  19. Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking?
  20. Do you sometimes have the "shakes" in the morning and find that it helps to have a "little" drink, tranquilizer medication of some kind?
  21. Have you recently noticed that you can't drink as much as you used to?
  22. Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time?
  23. After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren't there?
  24. Have you ever gone to anyone for, help about your drinking?
  25. Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after of heavy drinking?
Any "yes" answer indicates that you may be a greater risk for alcoholism. More than one "yes" answer may indicate the presence of an alcohol-related problem or alcoholism, and the need for consultation with a alcoholism professional.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease which there is impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, continued use of alcohol in the face of adverse consequences and distorted thinking. Generally speaking, alcoholism is repeated drinking that causes trouble in the drinker's personal, professional, family or school life. When alcoholics drink, they can't always predict when they'll stop, how much they'll drink or what the consequences of their drinking will be. Denial of the negative effects of alcohol in their lives is common among alcoholics and those close to them.There is no known cure for alcoholism. The disease can be arrested through complete abstinence from alcohol and other addictive drugs. Once abstinent, most alcoholics recover from the damage caused by their drinking. More than 1.5 million Americans are currently in recovery from their own alcoholism.

What Can Be Done About Alcoholism?

If you or someone you know appears to have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, NCADD and Its Affiliates have additional literature. NCADD's Affiliates offer information and referral to community-based programs and services.

The self-help fellowship of AA has chapters in nearly every community to help those who want to stop drinking. Al-Anon/Alateen groups, for people affected by someone else's drinking, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) meet in most communities. Local telephone directories usually list NCADD Affiliates, AA and Al-Anon, and may list other resources under "alcohol.'

Adapted from:
  • "What Are the Signs of Alcoholism - The NCADD Self -Test"
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
    12 W 21st Street
    New York, NY 10010
  • Phone: 800-NCA-CALL
  • Phone: 212-206-6770